|Thorpe and Romero tie for the lead - 10/26/07|
Both shoot 8-under 64s, one stroke off tournament course record at Sonoma
By BOB PADECKY
SONOMA -- The temperature was perfect, the day sunny, the wind mild. No wonder 20 of the 29 golfers on the Champions Tour broke par at the Sonoma Golf Club Thursday.
Jim Thorpe and Eduardo Romero both shot 8-under 64s to take the lead after the first round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Taking the lead on the first day was nothing new for Thorpe. This is the third time in the last five years Thorpe has either led or was tied for the lead after the first round. Thorpe, 58, for the first time in his career, played a round of championship golf by himself. He took two hours and 35 minutes. It was the one advantage -- unblemished greens -- he felt his competitors didn't have.
"I thought I would need somebody else to putt," said Thorpe, the tournament's defending champion, "to see the ball roll. And from the first hole it never bothered me, after I got into my rhythm."
Romero wasn't surprised by his round. Rather, he thought it was just the start of a good tournament.
"I played fantastic," said Romero who needed just 23 putts to complete his round. "I've played good all year long. I feel I am going to be very strong this week. This golf course is good for Jim and me. It plays long."
It didn't play as well for the leader in the Schwab Cup points race. Loren Roberts, who leads with 2,716 points, shot a one-under 71 and is tied for 17th place. Jay Haas, who is in second in the points race and the winner of last year's $1 million annuity, is tied for fifth with a 4-under 68.
Both Thorpe and Romero were one shot off the course record 63 -- since the tournament moved to Sonoma -- set in 2003 by Thorpe and later matched by Haas in 2005. The 63 is also a tournament record matched three times, most recently by Bruce Lietzke in 2001.
Thorpe shot a 6-under 30 on the back nine to match the record for this event. Tom Kite posted a 6-under 30 in 2003 in the first and second rounds.
England's Mark James shot a 66 and resides in third place.
"I had a couple of bad bounces from the rough onto the fairway," James said, "but nothing punished me too much. I didn't play fantastic but my putting was good."
Tom Watson, a three-time winner of this tournament, opened with a two-over 74 and is currently tied for 23rd place. Watson's 74 ended his streak of 15 consecutive sub-par rounds in this event.
The course was so kind to the golfers that four players played bogey-free rounds: D.A. Weibring, Mark James, Tom Purtzer and Scott Simpson. But despite the 20 sub-par rounds Thursday, there were no eagles.
Dana Quigley made the shot of the day, a 54-foot, 9-inch birdie putt on No. 14.