Near-perfect playing conditions made TPC River Highlands ripe for the picking Thursday during first-round play of the Travelers Championship.
Steve Lowery, Brian Davis, Johnson Wagner and Brad Adamonis all fired rounds of 6-under-par 64 to share the lead heading into Friday's second round in Cromwell, Conn. Ken Duke, Lucas Glover, Michael H. Thompson, Tom Pernice Jr., Justin Rose, John Huston and Peter Karmis all carded 65s to trail by one on a day where 104 golfers in the 156-player field broke par and 11 played bogey-free rounds.
Thanks to no wind, temperatures in the low 70s and greens softened by thunderstorms Wednesday night, the first-round scoring average of 68.853 was the lowest since the tournament began keeping track in 1983. The previous low of 69.513 was recorded in 1999.
"The golf course is soft, so the drives are staying in the fairway and you can get the irons close," Lowery told reporters. "The challenge is obviously with the putting when you have soft greens, keeping the ball on-line, so that's the good news/bad news out there."
The 64 by Lowery, who recorded his third PGA Tour victory earlier this year with a playoff win over Vijay Singh at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, was his best score at the Travelers Championship in 39 career rounds dating back to 1988. Lowery recorded his only other top-10 finish of the 2008 season at the Memorial Tournament.
The opening-round 64 is Lowery's lowest first-round score since the 2005 Funai Classic at Walt Disney World Resort. It marks the 18th time that the 47 year old has held or shared the first-round lead in his PGA Tour career, the last of which was the 2006 EDS Bryon Nelson Championship.
Lowery said he thought the key to his success was coming into the tournament relatively fresh.
"I think coming in rested, that's probably the biggest thing," Lowery said. "I tend to play better. Regardless of the golf courses, when I'm tired I don't do as well and when I'm rested I tend to play better. Hopefully I'll stay rested this week."
Prior to Lowery's win at Pebble Beach Golf Links, he was playing 2008 on a minor medical extension after suffering a wrist injury in 2007. He entered the year with eight starts in which to earn $282,558, which would couple with his 2007 earnings of $502,622 to equal No. 125 on the 2007 money list.
So far, Lowery has made six of 12 cuts and earned a little more than $1.3 million. However, he said the biggest boost to his career was probably defeating Singh in sudden death at Pebble Beach.
"It was probably my biggest win ever, so obviously it was good for me to be in a playoff with one of the top-ranked players," Lowery said. "Just to come away with a victory there, it gives you a lot of confidence for the rest of the year."
Davis, who held the 36-hole lead earlier this year at the Honda Classic, has never missed a cut at the Travelers Championship in three previous starts.
Wagner, winner of this year's Shell Houston Open, nearly recorded a hole-in-one on the 296-yard, par-4 15th hole on Thursday, hitting his tee shot to approximately two feet. Wagner's approaches were good all day as he hit 17 of 18 greens for round one.
Adamonis, the 35-year-old-rookie from Cumberland, R.I., shot the lowest round of his PGA Tour career with his 64. This is the first time that he has held or shared the lead after the completion of any round on the PGA Tour.
The stellar round was perhaps a belated Father's Day present for Adamonis' dad, Dave Adamonis. The elder Adamonis, the golf coach at NAIA school Johnson & Wales in Miami, is recovering from three different types of cancer and was recently named as golf's father of the year by Golfweek magazine.
"My father was honored by Golfweek magazine this last weekend for father of the year, and it was pretty cool, and I got to play with him. It was a lot of fun," Adamonis told reporters. "Actually, he helped me out with my game along with another guy over there, Jay Golden from Orlando, and [I] started hitting the ball a lot better on Sunday and then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and here we are Thursday.
"I owe them some thanks. I hit the ball pretty well and made a few putts."
June 20, 2008
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
... full article »