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Azinger parlays eight birdies to 1-shot Hawaiian Open lead


HONOLULU -- Paul Azinger made eight birdies, five on the back nine, to shoot a 7-under-par 65 yesterday for a one-shot lead after the first round of the United Airlines Hawaiian Open.

Bruce Zabriski was one shot back at 6-under 66.

Azinger, a second-place finisher twice on the 6,975-yard, par-72 Waialae Country Club course, made birdies at Nos. 8 and 9 after bogeying No. 7 to come into the break at 2-under 34. He said he gained confidence from those putts, and used it to birdie No. 11 with a 45-foot putt. He followed with birdies on Nos. 13, 15, 16 and 18.

"My putting was exceptional," Azinger said. "That putt on 11 got me going a little bit."

Two players who had to go through qualifying school last year to win spots on the tour -- Mark Carnevale and Jim Woodward -- were tied with early leader John Cook at 5-under 67.

Six golfers, including Hawaii resident Scott Simpson, Ben Hogan Tour qualifier Tom Lehman and Mark Clearwater, were three shots back at 4-under 68. Fourteen golfers were at 3-under 69.

Defending champ Lanny Wadkins shot a 2-over 74.

Zabriski started on the back nine and was 4-under 32 at the break. He moved to 5 under with a birdie on No. 4 and 6 under with a birdie on No. 7.

Carnevale and Woodward were at 6 under through 14 holes, but bogeyed their 15th holes before scoring pars the rest of the way.

Cook, who finished second in the tournament last year to Wadkins and won the Bob Hope Classic last month, made a 50-foot eagle putt on the par-5, 539-yard No. 1 and took off from there.

He followed with a 15-foot putt for birdie on No. 3, then scored birdies on the par-4 12th and par-3 17th.

"I had chances on the other three par-5's, but I didn't cash in on them," Cook said. "But it's a great way to start."

Gene Sauer was the early leader, going to 6 under after nine holes, but the 1989 Hawaiian Open champ stumbled on the front nine, bogeying Nos. 2 and 4, then double bogeying No. 6 to end up 2 under.

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