Tour veteran Roberts sets the pace in Western Open

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The Independent Online

Tour veteran Loren Roberts shot a bogey-free seven-under-par 64 and holds a one-shot lead over former champion Robert Allenby after the first round of the Western Open.

Tour veteran Loren Roberts shot a bogey-free seven-under-par 64 and holds a one-shot lead over former champion Robert Allenby after the first round of the Western Open.

Seven players are tied for third at four-under while defending champion Tiger Woods, using a new driver, had has struggles and finished at one-under.

Roberts who turned 49 just one week ago and admitted he is looking forward to gliding onto the Champions Tour, breezed through his opening round.

"I played solid tee to green, but I was very good in the 12 to 15-18 foot range with the putter," said Roberts, who is known on tour by his nickname 'Boss of the Moss'.

But Roberts, a terrific putter, admitted he might have taken his first putting lesson ever on Wednesday.

"I actually had someone take a look at me and we made a slight adjustment, and it really paid off," Roberts said.

While Roberts is looking forward to the Champions Tour, he is not ready to just head out to the senior circuit just yet.

He revealed he has been inspired by what a couple of other players in his age group are accomplishing.

"Jay Haas has been motivating me a little bit," Roberts said.

"Jay has been consistently playing good all the time, and that is something I would like to shoot for.

I would love to do what Jay is doing.

I would really like to stay here as long as I can, but still play in the senior majors, that would be an ideal goal.

" Roberts has participated in 19 Western Opens with his best finish being in 1990, when he tied for third.

He has finished in the top 10 twice and only missed the cut five times.

His lead looked like it may be three shots but Allenby birdied his final three holes to post a 65.

Woods, seeking his fourth Western Open title in eight years, called the greens "a bit springy and bouncing a little bit".

Woods said the situation forced a change in his game.

"You really have to land the balls shorter than you normally do," he said.

"Some of the pins are in the back so if you get aggressive and hit the ball back there near the flag, you are over the back.

Our whole group was guilty of that.

" Woods birdied two of his first five holes to get to two-under but a bogey at the par-three sixth and a double bogey on the par-four eighth put him back over par.

The rest of his round Woods just scrambled to get back to red numbers.

Getting used to his new Nike driver was something else Woods had to adjust to.

"I hit it well but I hit it a bit longer than I normally do, so I am trying to still get the lines.

" Woods said.

"I am not used to flying the ball that far.

" Ben Curtis, who used his 13th place finish here last year to qualify for the British Open, which he went on to win, heads the group of golfers tied for third.

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