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Holmes, Allenby lead Players; Tiger, Phil 4 back

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - The Players Championship was such a pushover yesterday that more than half the field broke par.

Even Tiger Woods.

With scrutiny higher than after the worst tournament of his career, Woods settled down after a shaky start and didn't make a bogey until his final hole for a 2-under 70 to join the assault on the TPC Sawgrass.

J.B. Holmes and Robert Allenby led the way at 6-under 66, a stroke ahead of eight players, including Lee Westwood and 49-year-old Kenny Perry. In muggy conditions with only a swirling breeze late in the day, 36 players broke 70, the most for the opening round of this tournament since 1994.

"I've felt like I've done some good work this week, even though reports are I was hitting all over the lot," Woods said. "But I was working on a few things. I was very comfortable with what I was working toward, and I was very excited about what was happening. It was just a matter of doing it in competition. And I did it today."

Masters champion Phil Mickelson, who has a chance to be No. 1 in the world for the first time with a victory and Woods finishing out of the top five, didn't have his best stuff but still managed a 70.

"Shooting 70 today isn't the round that you want," Mickelson said. "We came out in perfect conditions. There wasn't much wind, the greens were receptive, and there were a lot of low scores. But the reason I think this was a good day for me is I just didn't have it. So tomorrow if I can come out and get hot and shoot something in the mid-60s, I can get back in the tournament."

Kim has surgery

Anthony Kim had surgery Wednesday on his left thumb, which will keep him out of the U.S. Open and possibly the British Open.

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