HAVEN, Wis. (AP) Jim Woodward, a qualifier playing in his first Champions Tour event, shot a 67 to finish his first round Friday and move within a stroke of leader Eduardo Romero.
Woodward was one of 78 golfers caught in a thunderstorm Thursday afternoon that halted play. All the golfers caught a break Friday morning with calm winds and soft greens.
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Lonnie Nielsen, who won last week at the Commerce Bank Championship, and Bruce Vaughan were two strokes behind Romero after also finishing their rounds Friday morning, while Jon Fiedler, Ron Vlosich, Vicente Fernandez and Gil Morgan were three back.
"There's good news and bad news getting up at five in the morning," Woodward said. "When you do, you get to play that second nine with no wind, so it's a big advantage for us."
Woodward, who turned 50 on June 5 and qualified in Wichita, Kan., said he plans to try to qualify for the Champions Tour after playing as a club pro for the last several years. He joked with Tom Kite earlier in the week that he'd prefer to win the U.S. Senior Open to make qualification moot.
"I told Kite in our practice round ... 'I think I'll just win this week, and that'll fix everything,'" Woodward said. "I guess I should be nervous, but I'm not."
Romero and Fernandez, meanwhile, believe Argentinian golf is only getting better.
Romero made timely putts and used his long, straight drives to overcome the more than 1,300 bunkers at Whistling Straits to take the first-round lead with a 6-under 66 on Thursday.
Romero used his own money to sponsor Angel Cabrera, last month's U.S. Open winner, when Cabrera was trying to make it on the European Tour.
Cabrera, in turn, gave Romero some advice after winning at Oakmont.
"He said to me, 'If you go there, try to win the tournament, because two U.S. Opens in one month is fantastic,"' Romero said. "And I said, 'Angel, I know it's hard, but I'll try my best."'