Ernie Els had been worried about defending his Buick Classic title the week after winning his second U.S. Open.
He didn’t show it Thursday. Els continued his mastery of the Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., with a seven-under-par 64 that gave him a two-stroke lead over Brad Faxon in the opening round.
“It’s right there, it’s still in my mind,” he said of his victory last weekend at Congressional Country Club.
“I still get the nice feel from the U.S. Open. . . . It’s actually been a very quick four days. . . . I don’t want to lose that feeling, not soon, anyway.”
One stroke behind Faxon were Jeff Maggert, Vijay Singh, Paul Azinger and Jim Furyk.
Tiger Woods bogeyed four of his first six holes but birdied the last two to finish with a 72.
Michelle McGann opened with a six-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead in the LPGA Rochester International.
McGann sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to vault ahead of Nancy Scranton, a tour veteran who has been struggling to get back on track after shoulder surgery last spring.
Lori West and Michelle Estill joined Nanci Bowen and Nancy Ramsbottom in a four-way tie at 68 at Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford, N.Y.
Medalist Tim Hogarth of Chatsworth held off Randy Haag of Danville, 2 and 1, to advance to the quarterfinals of the 86th California Amateur championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Defending champion Mark Johnson failed to become the first successive winner since Dr. Frank Taylor in 1954-55 when he lost to Walnut Creek’s Scott Watson, 4 and 3.
Hogarth now faces 19-year-old Andy Miller of Napa, the son of 1968 California Amateur and 1973 U.S. Open champion Johnny Miller.