SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- All the talk about opening the spectator-hungry Senior PGA Tour to 45-year-olds leaves Doug Tewell cold.
It's an understandable reaction from players whose careers improved after they turned 50. Tewell, who took a 1-shot lead in The Tradition on Thursday, is one of them.
"You open it up and they're going to fall like a lead balloon," he said about senior players struggling to stay exempt. "The bad part of it is that people would say, 'They're not the ones we're worried about. We need star power.' But I think you need to do what's fair, also."
A three-time winner as a senior player after winning four times on the regular tour, Tewell advocates lowering the entry age in one-year increments, if at all.
"If they put the rule in effect next year, it will be 49, then 48, then 47," Tewell said. "So we come to meet some of the guys that are coming up, like Greg Norman, and some of the guys that are getting a little older don't play as much."
Tewell showed the best of senior play in the first round of the year's first senior major, shooting a mistake-free, 6-under-par 66 on the difficult Cochise Course at Desert Mountain.
Mike McCullough and Tom Wargo were second, and Bob Gilder, Jim Holtgrieve and Terry Dill opened with 68s.
Singh shares lead
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) -- Vijay Singh believes he has played well enough to have been a lot more successful this year.
Singh's first round over par this year came a week ago with a 73 on Saturday at the Masters. He's had four top-five finishes in the past five events. He's second in putting, second in scoring average and third in money earnings.
But he's got no victories to show for the overall improvement.
"I am hitting a lot of good shots," said Singh, who's tied for the lead with Billy Mayfair and Doug Dunakey after shooting a first-round 65 at the WorldCom Classic on Thursday. "I am playing 14, 15, 16 great holes, and one or two kind of bad ones pop up there."
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Annika Sorenstam isn't used to playing from behind.
"It's not a role I really like," she said.
After a double-bogey start, Sorenstam rallied with four birdies on the back nine for a 1-under 71 that left her 4 shots behind leader Pat Hurst in Thursday's opening round of The Office Depot.
Hurst had seven birdies to go with two bogeys in a 5-under 67 that gave her a 2-shot lead over the 144-player field.
"It's definitely important to play well the first two days because you're only going to have one more round after the cut," Hurst said. "Three-day events are a lot harder. You don't have that extra day to make up shots."
Sorenstam has come from behind in eight of her 26 LPGA wins, most recently in the Nabisco Championship on March 25. It was her third consecutive victory this year.
"I would like to be in a little better position, but I am happy," she said.
Sorenstam is trying to join Hall of Famers Mickey Wright and Kathy Whitworth as the only LPGA players to win four consecutively scheduled events. Wright did it in 1962 and '63, and Whitworth in '69. The LPGA record for consecutive victories is five by Nancy Lopez, although she took a week off after three straight wins.
"It's in the back of my mind," Sorenstam said. "I know what's at stake, but there are some players here who are very, very hungry to win and they're not going to give it to me. I have to play some great golf."
Michelle McGann, Dina Ammaccapane, Kristi Albers and Marnie McGuire of New Zealand were tied for second after shooting 69s on a course new to the LPGA Tour.
Anne-Marie Palli of France shot a 70 and was among five players tied at 2 under. Dottie Pepper and Sorenstam's younger sister, Charlotta, were part of the large group tied at 71.
Sorenstam double-bogeyed the 385-yard first hole at Wilshire Country Club. She hit left into one of the two bunkers that guard the green and three-putted.
"It happened so quickly," the Swede said. "After that, it was kind of playing catch-up, and it's not so easy on this golf course. When you drop two shots on one hole, it feels like you're catching up all day."
Sorenstam concluded her round in cool, sunny and windy conditions with a 2-foot birdie putt on the 155-yard 18th.
"Believe it or not, I'm very happy with my score," she said. "The course is tough. The wind was swirling on several holes. I thought it was very tricky."
Hurst rolled in a 20-footer for birdie on the first hole and saved par with a 10-footer on the 18th to take a 2-shot lead. In between, she bogeyed the 11th and 17th, both par 4s.
"I've been working on my putting the last couple weeks," she said. "These are fast greens, which usually helps me because it slows down my stroke. I tend to get in trouble when I get quick."
Divots: Whitworth is rooting on Sorenstam from her home in Flower Mound, Texas. "I hope Annika does it. I'd be thrilled if she could win five in a row," Whitworth said. "All records are meant to be broken, and I think it's wonderful that she has the chance to put her name in the record books again." ... If Sorenstam finishes first or second, it will give her the $63,552 she needs to reach $700,000 in six events, which would break the record for quickest player to reach that mark in season earnings. ... No American has won in eight tournaments this year. ... Laura Davies, who won last year's Los Angeles stop in Simi Valley, had a 79 on a course that doesn't favor her booming drives. ... Parking is extremely limited at Wilshire Country Club for everyone except Grace Park. She has a reserved spot outside the clubhouse as a perk for being the defending champion. She won the tournament when it was played under a different name in South Carolina last year.
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