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Daly shoots 66 on his favorite course

John Daly reacts on the 17th green during

John Daly reacts on the 17th green during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews. (July 15, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland - They are trousers here, not "pants." The ones John Daly wears these days, he calls them Paseltines, look they've been designed using a kaleidoscope. "I can get dressed in the dark," he said. "Any shirt is going to match."

Daly - 44, slimmed by Lap-Band surgery and seemingly reformed - is trying to equal the golf he once played when, before the binges and the suspensions, he won the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 British Open.

The '95 Open was at St. Andrews, where Thursday Daly briefly held the lead in the first round with a 6-under par 66 that still proved good enough for a tie for third.

"I love this course," Daly said. "I fell in love in '94 in the Dunhill Cup. I don't know why. It just suits my game . . . It's a golf course that not only brings back memories but was a memory even before I played it because of the great players that have won here. It's my favorite course in the world."

The end of January, having missed the cut in the Farmers Insurance Open at San Diego, Daly announced he was quitting golf. He explained he was frustrated because "I wanted results quicker," after three years of pain from a rib injury.

The results Thursday were encouraging.

"I've learned a lot," he said of his alcoholism and divorces. "I have never run from my mistakes. I've always been honest with you guys [the media] and everybody around me. I'm on a comeback. I've been hurt. It makes it very tough to get your confidence up when you're working around injuries."

Daly said he hasn't had a drink since the band was surgically implanted in April 2009 and has lost more than 100 pounds. "I'm not dieting," he pointed out. "I just can only put a little bit of the bad stuff in my belly."

A British writer said, "You're no longer the Wild Thing. What can we call you now, please?"

Daly thought for a moment.

"I don't know," he answered. "The Mild Thing?"

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