Merrick leads once more in Mexico

Feb. 21, 2008 at 9:30 PM

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- John Merrick shot a 6-under 64 Thursday to grab a one-shot lead after the opening round of the PGA Tour's Mayakoba Classic.

While the world's top 64 players are taking part in the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona, a surprisingly strong field has gathered at the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon course.

Larry Mize, who won the Masters 21 years ago, shared second place at 65 with Robert Damron, Kenneth Ferrie and David Lutterus.

John Daly, despite a double bogey, shot a 65, while Norman, playing for the second time this season and just the second time in three years, fired a 70.

Defending champion Fred Funk, who last year became the oldest winner on the PGA Tour since 1975, stumbled to a 73.

Merrick's score equaled the lowest of his career, which was shot in the first round of this tournament last year.

"I felt like today was more of a solid round than the one last year," Merrick said. "I hit a lot of greens and a lot of good shots, and even missed some more potential birdies."

Merrick faded to a tie for 48th place after opening with the lead in 2007.

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