Appleby leads Mercedes Championship

Jan. 8, 2004 at 10:23 PM

KAPALUA, Hawaii, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Stuart Appleby birdied five of the first six holes on the back nine Thursday for a 66 that gave him the lead after one round of the Mercedes Championship.

On the opening day of the PGA Tour season, Tiger Woods needed an eagle at the final hole just to finish five shots out of the lead while defending champion Ernie Els beat only two players in the 30-man field.

Appleby's seven-under total on the par-73 Plantation Course left him one shot in front of Darren Clarke and two ahead of Kirk Triplett, Scott Hoch, Justin Leonard and Vijay Singh.

Woods had a double bogey and three bogeys in a round of even-par 71, but he rolled in a 20-foot putt at the par-5 18th.

"Considering where I hit it, it was a stressful round," Woods said.

The tournament is open only to those who won on the PGA Tour in 2003.

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