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Hoffman starts strong at Houston Open

HOUSTON — Charley Hoffman birdied half the holes in the first round of the Shell Houston Open on Thursday, grabbing the lead with an 8-under 64.

Hoffman birdied the first four holes of his back nine, and then added another birdie on No. 8. That broke him out of what had been a four-way tie for first with Dustin Johnson, Roberto Castro and Scott Brown, who all shot 65s on the Golf Club of Houston course.

Hoffman, a three-time PGA Tour winner from San Diego, hasn't held up well on the weekends this season after giving himself good opportunities to claim titles. Closing 75s in his last two stroke-play tournaments even knocked him out of likely top-10 finishes.

Scott Brown, who was born in Augusta, Georgia, and has never played the Masters, was among those at 65. He needs to win to get in the Masters.

LPGA: At Rancho Mirage, Calif.,Ai Miyazato birdied four of the first six holes and shot a 5-under 67 to take the early lead in the ANA Inspiration.

Miyazato closed with a birdie on the par-5 18th at Mission Hills to pull a stroke ahead of fellow Japanese player Shiho Oyama, Scotland's Catriona Matthew and South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace after the morning session.

Miyazato is coming off a third-place finish Sunday in the Kia Classic in Carlsbad. Top-ranked Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie shot 70. Ko won at Carlsbad.

WEB.COM: At Sao Paulo, Brazil, Ashland's Jason Allred got to 5 under par through 12 holes before settling for a 3-under 68 in the first round of the Brasil Champions.

Allred is tied for 37th place.

Bhavik Patel made 11 birdies and grabbed the lead with a 9-under 62 at São Paulo Golf Club. Patel leads by one over Argentina’s Julian Etulain and Matt Atkins. Two back are Travis Bertoni, Oscar Fraustro, Andrew Svoboda, São Paulo native Lucas Lee, Sebastian Cappelen and Ryan Yip.