Choi uses eagle to surge ahead at Westchester


Tiger Woods looks like he might lose his No. — seed by skipping The Barclays, thanks to some stellar golf at Westchester from one of the top players chasing him in the PGA Tour Playoffs.

The surprise is that it's K.J. Choi, not Vijay Singh.

On a course that has given him fits, Choi holed out from 94 yards for eagle on the seventh hole and marched along to a 5-under 66, giving him a two-shot lead over Rich Beem going into the weekend at the first of four playoff events for the FedEx Cup.

And on a course where Singh has won three times, the defending champion cleaned out his locker Friday after missing the cut for the first time at Westchester in five years.

He wasted a brilliant start to shoot 71 and miss by four shots.

"In one way, I'm disappointed," said Singh, who has missed consecutive cuts for the first time since 2005. "But in another, I'd rather be out there working on my game than just trying to play here and playing poorly."

Geoff Ogilvy, who won the U.S. Open down the road at Winged Foot last summer, had a 66 in the swirling breezes of late afternoon and joined Steve Stricker (68) and Rory Sabbatini (71) at 8-under 134.

No one else was within six shots of Choi at 12-under 130.

Safeway Classic

At Portland, top-ranked Lorena Ochoa was a shot back of leaders Sophie Gustafson and rookie Ji-Young Oh after the first round of the Safeway Classic.

Ochoa, who has won the past two tournaments, threw up her arms after making a long birdie putt on the par-4 18th hole to finish the day with a 5-under 67.

Oh and Gustafson each had 66s on the course at Columbia Edgewater Country Club.

Ochoa won the Canadian Women's Open in Edmonton, Alberta, last week. It was her second straight victory and fifth of the season. Her previous victory at the Women's British Open was her first major title.

"I'm going to try very hard to get three in a row," said Ochoa, who is from Mexico. "That would be very special."

Ochoa finished the day with six birdies and a bogey. She made a 25-foot putt from the fringe on the 18th.

Champions Tour

At Snoqualmie, Wash., Jerry Pate thought his card looked mighty good &

four birdies, no bogeys and most important: no three-putts.

"If you're putting for birdie 18 times you're supposed to make something, even me," Pate said. "They've talked so bad about me on television about my putting, I'm starting to putt better."

Pate made three birdies on the back nine, part of a 4-under round of 68 that put him in a group two shots back in the first round of the Champions Tour Boeing Classic.

Ray Stewart, a former PGA Tour player who made the tournament field by shooting 70 and claiming the last automatic spot in a Monday qualifier, made four birdies on his first nine, and finished with a 6-under 66.

The group at 4 under also included Gil Morgan, who is struggling through one of his worst seasons on the Champions Tour. Morgan was also bogey-free in his round.

Dutch Open

At Zaandvoort, Netherlands, David Carter of England shot a second straight 5-under 65 to claim a two-shot lead after the second round of the Dutch Open, putting him closer to his first European Tour title in nearly a decade.

Carter's 10-under 130 put him two shots ahead of New Zealand's Steve Alker, Sweden's Alexander Noren and Joost Luiten of the Netherlands, who tied the course record with a 64.

Carter is chasing his first Tour win since the Irish Open in 1998. That same year, he also claimed the World Cup alongside Nick Faldo in New Zealand.

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