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Garcia leads Players Championship

  |   May 8, 2008 at 9:27 PM
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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., May 8 (UPI) -- Sergio Garcia, seeking to improve on his runner-up finish last year, took the first-round lead Thursday at The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Garcia fired a 6-under 66 at the TPC-Stadium Course, putting him two shots in front of Kenny Perry and Paul Goydos.

The morning starters had the advantage because the breezes increased as the day went on and Garcia was among those with an early tee time. Of the eight players who broke 70 Thursday, seven played in the morning.

Todd Hamilton was the exception and his 3-under 69 left him tied for fourth with Heath Slocum, Steve Elkington, Ian Poulter and Niclas Fasth.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson was among those at 70, as was Fred Couples, Boo Weekly, current U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera and Anthony Kim, who won for the first time on the PGA Tour last week.

"I think that anything under par is a very good score," Mickelson said. "I feel as though I'm turning 66s into 70s and I'm going to have to fix that."

Masters champion Trevor Immelman withdrew Thursday, citing stomach problems similar to those that have bothered him throughout the year.

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