Parnevik leads in Nissan Open

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif., Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Jesper Parnevik of Sweden made a series of adjustments Thursday and shot a 6-under-par 65 to take the lead in the suspended first round of the $3.7 million Nissan Open.

Jose Maria Olazabal, the winner of last week's Buick Open, is one of four golfers tied for second at 5-under 66 at the newly restored Riviera Country Club.


Billy Andrade, David Peoples and Toru Taniguchi of Japan are also one stroke off the pace.

Three golfers were on the course through 16 holes when play was suspended due to darkness. Hidemichi Tanaka, who is 3-under, John Senden and Steve Shriver will resume the round on Friday morning.

It has been a disappointing start to 2002 for Parnevik, who has done no better than 15th in six PGA events this year while missing the cut twice.

But he seemed to find Riviera Country Club to his liking, collecting eagles on the first and 10th holes along with four birdies and two bogeys.

"I looked in the mirror last night and I thought I needed to rotate my hips more. It hit it 30 yards farther today," Parnevik said. "I hate playing bad golf. I guess everybody does."


Parnevik also putted cross-handed for the first time and it paid off on No. 1 when he sank a 20-foot eagle putt. He didn't need the putter on the 10th hole as he chipped in from 25 feet.

Parnevik thought about skipping this event in order to reverse his fortunes, but thought that would only compound the problem.

"This is my seventh (tournament) in a row, but I didn't want to take time off when I'm struggling so much," Parnevik said. "I told my caddy that we wouldn't take a week off until we won one."

Parnevik has enjoyed some success here, finishing one stroke behind tournament champion Kirk Triplett at the 2000 Nissan Open and tying for 13th last year.

Olazabal, who has 22 international victories, had not captured a PGA Tour event since the 1999 Masters before winning the Buick. On Thursday, he had seven birdies and a double bogey in his round of 66.

"This early in the year it's easy to forget about what happened last week and concentrate on what you're doing," Olazabal said.

After birdies on two of the first three holes, Olazabal double-bogeyed the par-4, 5th hole when his tee shot went out of bounds. He birdied the 16th and 17th holes to move within a stroke of the lead.


Andrade, who started on the 10th hole, eagled the first hole, using a 5-iron to set up a 25-foot putt. Andrade has failed to make the cut in his first three events, but remains unfazed.

Peoples bogeyed two of the first three holes, drawing a warning for slow play, but bounced back with five birdies from the 11th to 17th hole.

David Duval, Tommy Armour III, Brad Faxon, Bob Tway and Esteban Toledo are tied at 4-under 67.

The tournament lost a bit of its luster when Tiger Woods, who grew up in Southern California, withdrew earlier this week. Woods said he has been ill for two weeks and needs some time away from the golf course.

The Nissan Open was Woods' first PGA Tour event which he played as a 16-year-old amateur. It also is the only tournament he has played at least four times as a professional without winning.

Playing in his first PGA Tour event in over a month, Sergio Garcia struggled with a 2-over 73. He captured the Mercedes Open in early January for his third career PGA title and was not in contention the following week at the Sony Open.


Trying to close in on a spot in the Masters, John Daly has enjoyed a career revival and carded a 70 on Thursday.

While winless since the 1995 British Open, Daly has finished fourth in his last two PGA starts. He is No. 40 in the world rankings with the top 50 after the Honda Classic from March 7-10 earning a trip to Augusta.

Defending champion Robert Allenby of Australia shot a 73.

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