PALM HARBOR, FLA. Charles Howell III decided to play Innisbrook two weeks ago to prepare, then made it pay off Thursday with a 5-under 66 for a one-stroke lead in the Chrysler Championship.
Needing a solid week to secure his spot in the Tour Championship, Howell holed a 35-foot eagle putt on No. 14 and two long birdie putts on his back nine and led after a first round for the first time since the Memorial.
Dan Forsman opened with 12 straight pars and finished strong with four birdies over his final six holes for a 67.
Vijay Singh, who can clinch the money title with a victory this week, hit his approach within five feet for birdie on the last hole for a 70, although it was a grind. Singh had to make eight par putts of at least four feet and one bogey putt on No. 12 from about seven feet.
Davis Love III, also desperate to win to keep alive his hopes for PGA Tour player of the year, opened with a 69.
Only two dozen players broke par on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook.
The PGA Tour moved 100 miles down the road to another Florida golf resort, only this is nothing like the courses across the street from Disney World.