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MailTribune.com
  • Bettencourt, Tomasulo share Texas lead

  • SAN ANTONIO — Matt Bettencourt looked more like the former PGA tour winner that he is Thursday than someone who's 183rd on this year's money list.
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  • SAN ANTONIO — Matt Bettencourt looked more like the former PGA tour winner that he is Thursday than someone who's 183rd on this year's money list.
    Peter Tomasulo looked like anything but a player fighting to keep his tour card.
    Bettencourt and Tomasulo each shot 5-under par 67s Thursday to earn the surprising lead after the first round of the Texas Open, holding off a field that includes world No. 2 Rory McIlroy.
    They took advantage of warmer and calmer afternoon conditions and held a one-stroke lead over a group of four players — including three-time major winner Padraig Harrington — at 4 under.
    Harrington and Billy Horschel shared the lead following the morning tee times, battling chilly and windy conditions. They were joined by Bryce Molder and Harris English at 4 under in the afternoon.
    McIlroy, who entered the tournament as a final opportunity to prep for next week's Masters, opened with an even-par 72 and is tied for 45th.
    Playing in the final group of the day, Tomasulo posted the only bogey-free round. Taking advantage of a medical exemption following a rib injury two years ago, he closed with a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th.
    Bettencourt made the tournament as an alternate after Henrik Stenson withdrew. The former Reno-Tahoe Open winner needed only 25 putts while playing after the temperature warmed considerably and the wind eased off in the afternoon.
    The 37-year-old's two-year exemption on tour following his 2010 win in Reno ended after last season. He had bounced between the PGA and Web.com tours this season, making only one cut in five events.
    Bettencourt played like anything but a journeyman on Thursday, crediting a recent medication change in helping to control his asthma and jitters that resulted from other inhalers. His lone bogey came on No. 4, and he took the lead from Harrington with a birdie on No. 17.
    Bettencourt might have found his answer away from the course, but it was Harrington who felt right at home on the course in the early morning cold and wind — even if he didn't particularly enjoy the conditions.
    The former British Open and PGA Championship winner from Ireland overcame the early morning chilly temperatures and steady wind to go as low as 5 under before finishing with a bogey on No. 18. He began his day with four layers of clothing in an attempt to stay warm as the Texas winds whipped in from the north.
    Web.com Tour
    At Sao Paulo, Brazil, Jason Allred shot an even-par 71 and is tied for 77th place in the inaugural Brasil Classic.
    Allred, from Ashland, is playing his second event of the season.
    Starting on the back nine at Sao Paulo Golf Club, he had three bogeys on his first nine and made the turn at 2 over. However, birdies at the first, fourth and fifth holes got him to 1 under before another bogey dropped him back.
    Sweden's Richard S. Johnson, New Zealand's Danny Lee and Tom Hoge of the U.S. all posted 6-under 65s to share the first-round lead.
    Allred has an early tee time today, going off at 7:40 a.m. local time with playing partners Bronson La'Cassie and James Sacheck.
    Kraft Nabisco Championship
    At Rancho Mirage, Calif., playing partners Suzann Pettersen and Na Yeon Choi took advantage of perfect morning conditions to share the first-round lead with Jodi Ewart Shadoff in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
    Finishing before the temperature climbed into the low 90s in the Coachella Valley, Pettersen and Choi had bogey-free rounds of 4-under 68 at Mission Hills. Ewart Shadoff matched them late in the afternoon with the wind picking up at the first major championship of the year.
    Pettersen birdied the final three holes on her front nine and got to 4 under with a birdie on the par-4 seventh, her 16th hole. The Norwegian, a 10-time LPGA Tour winner ranked eighth in the world, had consecutive victories late last season in South Korea and Taiwan and won a European tour event last month in China.
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