Friday, November 14, 2008

SINGAPORE (AP) — Ernie Els birdied two of his final four holes in the first round for a 5-under 66 and a one-stroke lead Friday in the Asian Tour's Singapore Open.

``I putted nicely and hit the ball OK,'' said Els, the South African star who played 14 holes Thursday before rain forced the suspension of play. ``I felt comfortable with the swing and I'm pretty pleased with the start.''

Tournament officials hoped to complete the second round Friday.

Singapore's Lam Chih Bing, trying to become the first local player to win the tournament, shot a 67 on Thursday to finish the round a stroke back.

Australia's Marcus Both opened with a 68.

Ireland's Padraig Harrington, the British Open and PGA Championship winner, shot a 72. American Phil Mickelson, who lost the No. 2 spot in the world to Sergio Garcia last week, opened with a 73, and two-time winner Adam Scott had a 76.

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