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  Thursday, 13 June, 2002, 22:48 GMT 23:48 UK
Woods grabs first-round lead
Tiger Woods walks in front of the leaderboard at Bethpage Park
Tiger Woods hit a birdie on the last hole

Tiger Woods birdied the final hole to take an outright lead after a high-scoring first round of the US Open in Long Island.

Woods was one of only six players to break par on the Bethpage State Park Black Course - the longest ever used for the US Open.


The conditions were almost perfect out there today so you can see how tough this course is
Sergio Garcia

The US Masters champion hit a three-under-par 67 to move one shot clear of Sergio Garcia.

"I'm very happy. I hung in there and grinded my way around," said Woods.

"This golf course is very difficult to play."

Woods said the late birdie was a great psychological boost.

"It's always nice to end on a birdie. No matter how bad a day or how good a day you have had, you sleep better after a birdie."

Garcia picked up three shots in all and bogeyed the par-four sixth before finishing on two under.

"The conditions were almost perfect out there today so you can see how tough this course is," said Garcia.


It could have been worse, could have been a little better, too
Ernie Els

"I'm happy with the way I played. I managed to hit a lot of fairways and that's one of the keys around here.

"And when I didn't, I was able to scramble around and save some good pars."

The Spaniard was one clear of Americans Jeff Maggert and Dudley Hart and South Korea's K.C. Choi, who produced matching 69s on a cool and overcast day.

"Despite the overnight rain, the greens didn't seem that different from the last few days in terms of pace," said Hart.

A further shot back in a tie for sixth was Phil Mickelson, who got off to a fast birdie-birdie start before faltering with a double-bogey at the difficult 459-yard 15th.
Jeff Maggert birdied the last to go within a shot of the lead
Maggert closed on Garcia on his last hole

The left-hander ended the day level on 70 veteran Briton Nick Faldo, fellow Americans Steve Lowery and Scott Dunlap, and Ireland's Padraig Harrington.

"This is as hard a US Open as I've played, and that's given we played in perfect conditions today," Mickelson said.

"The fairways are as tight as I've seen, the rough is as thick and as penalising as I've seen and they've got the greens rolling two feet faster than we normally see them."


US Open: First-round scores
(US unless stated)

67 Tiger Woods
68 Sergio Garcia (Spa)
69 Dudley Hart, K.J. Choi (S Kor), Jeff Maggert, Billy Mayfair
70 Steve Lowery, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Padraig Harrington (Ire), Nick Faldo (GB), Franklin Langham
71 Davis Love, Tom Lehman, Scott Hoch, Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa), Tom Gillis, Todd Rose, Craig Bowden, Thomas Levet (Fra), Robert Karlsson (Swe), Charles Howell, Thomas Bjorn (Den), Jean Van De Velde (Fra)

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 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Andrew Cotter
"Thousands of New Yorkers came to see Tiger"
Tiger Woods
"I'm very satisfied"
Spain's Sergio Garcia
"The course is playing hard"
BBC Sport Online's US Open 2002 news section

Fourth round

Third round

Second round

First round

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14 Jun 02 | US Open
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