Woods dodges orange at Phoenix Open

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Jan. 25 -- Defendnig champion Tom Lehman battled his way into a share of the lead at the Phoenix Open Thursday, but he was overshadowed by a ball that took an odd path to get to the hole and an orange that rolled across a green in front of Tiger Woods.

Woods, playing in only his second tournament of the year, was standing over a 20-foot putt on his final hole of the day when an orange came flying out of the large crowd behind the green. It rolled all the way across the putting surface as Woods stepped away from his ball.


Because of the huge and often rowdy crowds at the Phoenix Open, security has been increased this year and police quickly handcuffed a 15-year-old boy who said he threw the orange on a dare.

Tournament officials said they expected charges to be filed in the matter.

Woods eventually missed the putt and settled for a round of 6-under 65 -- one shot behind co-leaders Lehman, Brad Elder and Scott Verplank.

Magee, meanwhile, produced one of the most remarkable shots in the history of the game when he recorded a hole-in-one on the par-4 17th hole. Officials said they believed it was the first ace on a par-4 hole in PGA Tour history.


Magee's bizarre achievement came on a 333-yard hole that is driveable by many players in the field.

Having made a double bogey two holes earlier, Magee decided to risk going for the green with his tee shot and he succeeded in reaching it. But he hit the shot without waiting for the group in front to clear the green.

Magee's ball bounced onto the green and struck the putter of Tom Byrum, who was unaware the ball was fast approaching. After glacing off the putter, the ball ran right for hole and fell in.

Magee shot a 5-under 66.

Woods had hoped to attend the Super Bowl this week to cheer on his favorite team -- the Oakland Raiders. But when Oakland was beaten by Baltimore in the AFC Championship game, he committed to playing in the Phoenix Open. He shared fourth place at 65 with Stewart Cink, Frank Nobilo, Chris Perry, Mark Calcavecchia and Steve Pate.

Mike Weir and Bob May were among those tied with Magee while those at 4-under 67 included John Daly, Fred Couples, Sergio Garcia and Jesper Parnevik.

Elder, who has yet to win since joining the PGA Tour in 1998, played the last 12 holes in 8-under to gain a share of the lead. He made his move with five consecutive birdies beginning at the 13th.


This tournament drew an exceptionally strong field with the top 16 from last year's money list present.NEWLN:

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