Allenby’s 63 good for Hope lead

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PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP) – Robert Allenby got the benefit of a late-morning tee time and went on a birdie binge in the afternoon Wednesday on the way to a 9-under 63 and a two-shot lead in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Mark Calcavecchia and Craig Kanada were tied for second at 65. Phil Mickelson made his 2007 debut with a 70, and defending champion Chad Campbell also had a 70.

The leaderboard initially had Allenby finishing at 12-under, but the volunteer tracking his score had done his math wrong. After the start was delayed anywhere from half an hour to an hour because of frost on each of the four courses used for the tournament, Allenby began his round at La Quinta Country Club around 11 a.m., an hour later than scheduled.

Overnight temperatures dipped to 27 degrees and it was in the 30s when play was scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. as a record cold snap continued in Southern California.

Allenby began on the back nine of the 7,060-yard La Quinta layout, was 4-under by the turn, then made five more birdies during a bogey-free round.

His putter, which he had forgotten in his hotel room but had time to retrieve because of the frost delay, carried him.

Three of his birdies came from within 4 feet of the hole, but he made several 20-30 footers, including rolling in two from around 25 feet to birdie his final two holes.

The 35-year-old Allenby is coming off an eighth place finish in Hawaii last weekend. A native of Melbourne, Australia, he first played on the tour in 1993. He won twice in both 2000 and 2001 and has earned more than $13.5 million in his career.

DIVOTS: Fred Couples, the 1998 Hope champion, withdrew because of a sore calf. Mark Wilson replaced him … David Duval, who shot a tour record-tying 59 on the final day to win the tournament in 1999 and hasn’t finished higher than a tie for 48th in the event since 2000, shot an opening 67 this time.

AP-ES-01-17-07 2023EST

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