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Gay holds the edge at St. Jude

AMERICAN Brian Gay shot a 6-under 64 to take a 1-stroke lead over compatriot Jimmy Walker after the first round of the St. Jude Classic in Tennessee on Thursday.

Gay, who produced just one bogey, won the Heritage Classic in April and is looking for his third career win on the PGA Tour, while Walker has spent most of his career on the Nationwide Tour and has yet to win on the top tour.

"Obviously 6-under is great almost any time so I'm pleased," Gay said.

"It has been a little bit of a struggle lately. My ball striking hasn't been there really since I won. I've had some minor injuries and I haven't played that much - I am just looking to get something going."

Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal, without a win in the US since 2002, carded a bogey-free round at the TPC Southwind and is one of five players, including Sweden's Mathias Gronberg and Britain's Graeme McDowell, two shots off the lead on 4-under.

Olazabal has struggled with injuries over the past two years, battling rheumatism and the side-effects of the medication he received.

"It's been a tough two years, very painful ... I couldn't do much for a year and a half, just lay down and - you know, quite unpleasant. It's something that I don't wish on anybody," he said after his round.

Another Swede, Fredrik Jacobson, Britain's Richard Johnson and Australian Robert Allenby were among those a shot further adrift on 3-under.

World No. 2 Phil Mickelson, who withdrew from the Tour last month after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, made a 2-under 68 on his return to action.

Mickelson made six birdies but double-bogeyed the 18th to leave him in the chasing pack four shots behind Gay.

"I thought it was a fun round. I really like the way the golf course is set up. It's fun but it's a challenge and made a couple of birdies today," Mickelson said.

World No. 4 Sergio Garcia of Spain shot an even-par 70 but Irish triple major champion Padraig Harrington staggered to a disappointing 2-over-par round with four bogeys.


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