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Sizzling Van Pelt gets early lead; Woods has less than perfect day

If you ever doubted the curious effects golf can have on a person, allow the first round of the Quail Hollow Championship to reinforce the notion it can bend hearts and minds like no other game.


The two top stars in the sport - Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson - both felt ill Thursday but for very different reasons.

Mickelson was still dealing with the effects of a stomach issue that caused him to faint on Wednesday and, despite running out of energy late in the first round, he found encouragement in his sickness.

It seems the last two times Mickelson has fainted after getting sick on the road, he's won that tournament. It happened in 2001 in San Diego and last year at Doral. Mickelson, who opened with 70 Thursday after a miserable 24 hours, chose to see it as the IV bag being half full.

"I'm two for two," Mickelson said. "The last two times ... I've won. Laying there on the floor, wondering where I am, a good omen came over me."

Woods, meanwhile, shot a threadbare 74 in the first round that had no rhythm to it. Despite being greeted by applause throughout his round, Woods could barely hear it for the screaming in his head over his own ragged play.

It was so bad Woods chose not to try to fix it in the afternoon.

"I'm not going to the range today. Hell with it," he said, a wry smile on his face, before leaving Quail Hollow for the day.

By the time he left, Woods was nine shots behind first-round leader Bo Van Pelt, who has only recently made peace with his own demons.

If you're not immediately familiar with Van Pelt, that's OK. He threatened to win here in 2006 but finished tied for sixth. He's been a solid player on tour for several years now and finally won for the first time last year in Milwaukee, an event that ceased to exist after his victory.

In fairness, it should be noted that Van Pelt's victory didn't cause the tournament to end. Economics were the culprit.

Recently, he came to terms with his putting.

"I was temporarily insane," Van Pelt said.

He went through about 10 different putters, searching for relief, before returning to an old model that was recently refurbished. With a new shaft and a new shine on the old putter, Van Pelt felt renewed.

Already ranked among the top five on tour in total driving and greens in regulation, Van Pelt rode his confidence on the greens to an easy-looking 65.

"This is one of those golf courses where if it's going good, you'd better try to get it because it can jump up and grab you," said Van Pelt, who never got grabbed, playing a bogey-free round.

Throw into the mix 49-year-old Kenny Perry, who has talked recently about his future on the Champions Tour, and shot 66 on Thursday. He found an old driver head in a drawer at his house, attached to a shaft he likes and started playing like Kenny Perry again. It's the same driver he won twice with last year.

"I found it last week and I put it in the bag," Perry said. "I was like, 'Wow, where has this been?' It was a nice treasure I found."

He also made the jump to a belly putter this week.

Perry was apprehensive at first but he kept looking up and seeing putts fall in, including an 8-footer for eagle at the par-5 seventh, and he began to feel reassured about his decision.

Perry had only 24 putts in the first round and pulled off the rarity of bookend birdies at the 17th and 18th holes.

Others are gathered near the front - Camilo Villegas shot 67, Geoff Ogilvy is in a group of six players at 68 - but Woods and Mickelson remained the dominant personalities on the first day.

Mickelson was 4-under par after birdies at 14 and 15, but he gave the strokes back with a 3-putt bogey from the edge at 17 and another bogey at 18 as his energy waned.

"I'm feeling OK," Mickelson said.

"Again, it doesn't matter. It only matters what you shoot. I may have run out of energy toward the end, but that's OK ."

Woods was just running hot when he finished, frustrated by his own inconsistency.

"I had a lot of issues out there trying to figure out where my balls were going to go," said Woods, who is tied for 88th place. "I hit a bunch of balls left, I hit a bunch of balls right, hit a few down the middle and that was about it."

Tee Times

Starting times for today's second round at the Quail Hollow Championship:

1st tee

7 a.m.: Chad Campbell, Rocco Mediate, D.A. Points

7:10: Charles Howell III, Mathew Goggin, Jeff Klauk

7:20: J.J. Henry, Greg Owen, Kevin Streelman

7:30: Zach Johnson, Sean O'Hair, Padraig Harrington

7:40: Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Kenny Perry

7:50: Will MacKenzie, Andres Romero, Mark Calcavecchia

8: Carl Pettersson, Ben Curtis, Brad Faxon

8:10: Ted Purdy, Notah Begay III, Jeff Quinney

8:20: Jonathan Byrd, Vaughn Taylor, Carlos Franco

8:30: Fredrik Jacobson, Craig Bowden, Chad Collins

8:40: Matt Jones, Jarrod Lyle, Garth Mulroy

8:50: Troy Merritt, Kevin Johnson, Jerod Turner

9: Blake Adams, Martin Flores, Jeff Peck.

12:10 p.m.: Chris Riley, Nicholas Thompson, Steve Marino

12:20: Tim Herron, Alex Cejka, Roland Thatcher

12:30: Lee Westwood, Bryce Molder, Matt Bettencourt

12:40: Jason Bohn, Bill Haas, Nick Watney

12:50: Tiger Woods, Stewart Cink, Angel Cabrera

1: Nathan Green, Boo Weekley, Steve Lowery

1:10: Ryan Moore, Greg Kraft, Fred Couples

1:20: Bo Van Pelt, Mark Wilson, Daniel Chopra

1:30: Jeff Maggert, Greg Chalmers, Jeff Overton

1:40: James Driscoll, Rickie Fowler, Bill Lunde

1:50: Harrison Frazar, Kevin Stadler, Ricky Barnes

2: Vance Veazey, Roger Tambellini, Brian Stuard

2:10: Brendon de Jonge, Aron Price, Willis Ring

10th tee

7 a.m.: Garrett Willis, Chris Stroud, Tim Wilkinson

7:10: George McNeill, Aaron Baddeley, John Merrick

7:20: Joe Ogilvie, J.P. Hayes, James Nitties

7:30: Camilo Villegas, Lucas Glover, J.B. Holmes

7:40: Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Rory Sabbatini

7:50: Vijay Singh, Richard S. Johnson, Trevor Immelman

8: Cameron Beckman, Troy Matteson, Heath Slocum

8:10: Pat Perez, Adam Scott, David Toms

8:20: Kevin Sutherland, Brian Davis, Nick O'Hern

8:30: Brandt Snedeker, Alex Prugh, Ross Fisher

8:40: Charley Hoffman, Jason Dufner, Kris Blanks

8:50: Henrik Bjordstad, Steve Wheatcroft, David Lutterus

9: Tom Gillis, Chris Tidland, Cortland Lowe

12:10 p.m.: David Duval, Billy Mayfair, Webb Simpson

12:20: Charles Warren, Omar Uresti, Jason Day

12:30: Woody Austin, Paul Goydos, Brett Quigley

12:40: Anthony Kim, Geoff Ogilvy, D.J. Trahan

12:50: Derek Lamely, Hunter Mahan, Robert Allenby

1: Brian Gay, Johnson Wagner, John Senden

1:10: Martin Laird, Parker McLachlin, Stuart Appleby

1:20: Davis Love III, Chez Reavie, Ryuji Imada

1:30: Rod Pampling, Michael Allen, Scott Piercy

1:40: Tim Petrovic, Kevin Na, Jimmy Walker

1:50: Scott McCarron, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy

2: Rich Barcelo, Cameron Tringale, Cameron Percy

2:10: Spencer Levin, Michael Connell, Josh Teater