Skip Kendall, playing in the last group of the day, had the best score of the first round, his seven-under-par 65 giving him a one-stroke lead over three players. On 66 were the three-times Doral winner, Greg Norman, Bob Tway and Lee Rinker.
Kendall had eight birdies in the first 12 holes of Doral's Blue course. "I didn't want to get ahead of myself," he said. "I just wanted to stay focused and hit good shots. The TV cameras started coming out then, and I hit it in a few bunkers coming in." Kendall's only bogey came on the 16th hole, when he was caught in two different bunkers.
Partly because scoring has been low in recent years, the course was reworked by Raymond Floyd last year, with new bunkers added and the final hole, the famed Blue Monster, back at its old level of difficulty.
An unusual lack of wind yesterday produced scores that did not quite reflect the added problems. The field's scoring average was just below par at 71.96.
"One thing about the renovations is that Raymond never changed any of the lines off the tees. I just hit the ball exactly the way I've done in all the years I've been coming here," Norman said.
"There wasn't one shot I was apprehensive on, because I knew exactly where the lines were and where the ball would go," Norman said after his bogey-free round.