Solid Carter has opening-day lead

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The Independent Online

Jim Carter shot a seven-under-par 65 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Houston Open. Esteban Toledo of Mexico is alone in second place after a 66 while Fiji's Vijay Singh is one of a group of six two shots off the pace after five-under par 67s.

Seven more players were on 68, including Zimbabwe's Nick Price and the former US Masters champion Fred Couples. A total of 23 competitors were within four shots of the lead.

Carter, 40, from Scottsdale, Arizona, who started just before 8am, went out in a five-under 31. His bogey-free round included just 24 putts in total.

Of his seven birdie putts, only one was longer than eight feet. "It was just a good, solid round," Carter said. "I didn't seem to do anything stupid, I didn't seem to do anything spectacular. Hopefully, I can just build on this and keep this momentum going for three days.

"I've been playing really great golf," Carter added. "Everything seems to be in order. I've made a few mistakes. Seems like each round I've had a couple of, like, 'Man, I shouldn't have done that'. I didn't do that today and, hopefully, I'm done doing that for the year." Carter has only one win in 352 US PGA Tour starts, at the 2000 Tucson Open.

The PGA Tour has not had a repeat winner this season and last week's surprise winner of The Players' Championship, the New Zealander Craig Perks, struggled to a 74.

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