Leonard and Goydos share first-round Texas Open lead

HOUSTON, Texas (Reuters) - Three-times winner Justin Leonard and fellow American Paul Goydos shared the first-round lead at the Texas Open Thursday after firing seven-under 63s at La Cantera Golf Club's Resort Course in San Antonio.

Goydos took advantage of gentle, morning conditions to register six birdies in a blistering front-nine 29, while Leonard finished later in the day with birdies on four of his last six holes for his bogey-free, seven-under-par round.

Leonard, who matched Arnold Palmer's hat-trick of Texas Open titles in 2007, is trying to become the first player to win the event four times.

"Just a great start," said 1997 British Open champion Leonard, who also birdied his first two holes of the day. "And then I had a very nice finish today."

Americans Jeff Maggert and Ted Purdy were tied with Australian Marc Leishman at six under par.

Britons Brian Davis and Greg Owen were another shot adrift at five-under, one better than a group of eight that included Americans Corey Pavin and David Duval, Canadian Stephen Ames and Sweden's Mathias Gronberg and Fredrik Jacobson.

The 44-year-old Goydos, who has missed seven of 11 cuts this season, thoroughly enjoyed his outward half.

"It's always fun to shoot 29," said Goydos, twice a winner on the U.S. Tour. "Shoot in the 20s, that's just to me one of the coolest things you can do as a Tour player in golf."

Goydos, who birdied five of his last six holes on the front side, cooled off in the back nine and made just two more birdies before taking his only bogey of the day at the 18th.

Former Tour pro and current caddie Lance Ten Broeck had the most unusual day at La Cantera.

Ten Broeck caddied for Sweden's Jesper Parnevik (70) in the morning and then was notified he could play as an alternate and went out and shot 71 in the afternoon to tie for 84th place in the 156-man field.

Last year's winner Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion, began with a two-under-par 68, five shots off the pace.

(Writing by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Greg Stutchbury;

Article Published: 15/05/2009