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Weir leads Buick — Tiger lurking

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Utah resident Mike Weir acknowledges the crowd after his birdie at No. 17.

Utah resident Mike Weir acknowledges the crowd after his birdie at No. 17.

Carlos Osorio, Associated Press

GRAND BLANC, Mich. — Tiger Woods birdied his first five holes and closed with a 6-under 66 Thursday.

That wasn't enough to take the early lead in the Buick Open.

Mike Weir matched his best round of the season with a 63 to top the leaderboard in the suspended first round, one shot ahead of two-time defending champion Vijay Singh and three in front of Woods.

Joe Durant, Brett Quigley and Woody Austin were two shots back at 65.

"You know you are going to have to (go low), or else you are going to get run over," Woods said. "You have to shoot something in the 60s, actually mid-60s just to keep pace."

All of the leaders were fortunate to have morning tee times.

The tournament was delayed 2 hours, 16 minutes in the morning because of stormy weather. A second delay lasted 1 hour, 36 minutes in the afternoon before play was suspended for the day because of unplayable conditions.

Just over half of the field was unable to complete the first round and those unlucky golfers will be back on the course early today, with some needing to play 36 holes before the cut is made — and that might not happen until Saturday morning.

Warwick Hills is always one of the easiest courses on the PGA Tour because it's relatively short and the greens are perfect, players say. Rain softened up the course, allowing players to shoot right at pins even more aggressively than usual.

"Even though the wind is blowing, the greens are soft and guys are flying at every flag," Woods said.

Weir had four birdies on the front nine and five consecutive on the back to match the opening round he had in February at Pebble Beach, where the Canadian star finished a season-best third. The 2003 Masters champion has had a lackluster year with five top-10 finishes — though one was at the U.S. Open in June. Weir's last win was the 2004 Nissan Open.

"I didn't even really look at the board today," Weir said. "You know going into this tournament that you're going to have to be pretty close to 20 under or more."

Singh won last year with a 24-under 264, one shot better than the previous year. He is trying to become the first player to win three straight Buick Opens and four overall, and Warwick Hills is giving him confidence after a poor performance.

"After missing the British Open cut, I worked pretty hard getting ready for this week and the PGA," Singh said. "I was feeling pretty good about my game coming in."

Woods, the British Open winner, got off to a strong start with five straight birdies and six on his first 10 holes. After getting to 7 under on his 16th hole, he gave a stroke back after a poor bunker shot.

"You make a bogey on this golf course and you feel like you lost a couple shots," he said. "I had a bogey on my 17th hole and it is just terrible."

He is playing in his first tournament since his emotional win at Royal Liverpool, where he broke down thinking about his late father, and is two weeks away from trying to win his 12th major at the PGA Championship.

Woods said he used his driver a couple of times, after using it only once at the British Open, but it was his 3-wood that he had trouble controlling on two holes on his back nine.

"Two terrible shots," he said. "But somehow I was lucky to make par out of them."

At No. 2, he pulled his shot and yelled, "Fore!" A low, cut shot under a tree limb, up the fairway and onto the apron behind the green helped him save par. Three holes later, he went way left of the fairway again before scrambling to save another par.