THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- K.J. Choi has a history of thriving in golf tournaments associated with the Tiger Woods Foundation. Choi won the inaugural AT&T National in 2007 and finished runner-up this year, and Thursday's 6-under-par 66 puts him in the lead after the first round of the $5 million Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club.
Four-time Chevron World Challenge champ and Southern California native Tiger Woods, making his only Los Angeles-area golfing appearance of the year, birdied four of his first five holes and shot a 3-under 69 to occupy second place alongside his first-round playing partner, Steve Stricker.
Others in the exclusive, 18-player event who finished the first round under par at 1-under 71 were Murrieta, Calif. native and World Challenge newcomer Rickie Fowler, 2009 Chevron World Challenge winner and 2010 FedExCup champ Jim Furyk, who eagled the par-5 11th hole, and Nick Watney, whose 18 top-10 PGA TOUR results in the past two seasons are third most on Tour.
Playing in his third Chevron World Challenge, Choi got off to a scorching start with birdies on the first five holes. He braved windy conditions on the back nine to trump his lone bogey at No. 15 with birdies at Nos. 13 and 16. Ranked No. 15 in the world, Choi is the most successful Korean golfer in PGA TOUR history. He won his eighth PGA TOUR title at this year's PLAYERS Championship and ranks No. 4 on this year's Tour money list.
The first round included three eagles - Furyk's eagle on No. 11 and playing partners Zach Johnson and Bo Van Pelt recording the same score on the par-5 second hole.
Sherwood Country Club did not encounter the strong winds that were originally forecasted and swept through the Los Angeles area on Wednesday. Wind gusts picked up and swirled in the afternoon but, overall, the sunny conditions made for a fan-friendly first round.