Bad weather didn't diminish Jeff Overton's play or his enjoyment of his surroundings Thursday in first-round play of the Turning Stone Resort Championship.
Overton shot a 5-under-par 67 at Atunyote Golf Club in Verona, N.Y. to take the first-day lead by one stroke over Steve Allan and Michael Allen, who was the runner up in last year's event, won by Steve Flesch. It marked the second time Overton has held or shared the first-round lead in his PGA Tour career.
"[I] just hit a lot of great drives, more than anything," Overton told reporters.
Overton previously led after round one at the 2008 Legends Reno-Tahoe Open, where he carded a 7-under 65 to go ahead by two strokes. He added rounds of 75-75-70 and wound up tied for 37th place.
This time, Overton is hoping for better results with his finish. He certainly seemed comfortable with his surroundings.
"It's one of the best places we play all year," Overton said. "Turning Stone - the whole resort and the complex, everything - it's first class. You feel at home.
"You come out here to the golf course, and the greens are perfect — might be some of the best greens you play on all year. The rough is up a little bit. Just all in all, things are great."
Great, but with the possible exception of the weather on Thursday. With rain showers and temperatures in the 50s, the conditions were in stark contrast to last year's opening round, which saw sunny skies and an afternoon high of 78 degrees.
Overton, who started his round on No. 10, took advantage of improving playing conditions. Starting the tournament ranked No. 145 on the PGA Tour money list, the Indiana native answered a bogey at No. 13 with birdies at Nos. 15, 17 and 18. He then added three more birdies on his final nine.
"I'd say my last six holes or so it definitely played a little bit easier," Overton said. "The morning, it was so windy and so nasty out. I missed like a two-footer.
"My closest birdie putt I think on my front nine I three-putted and missed like a 1 1/2, two-footer. The wind was just howling. It's tough to stay still over the short ones when it gets like that."
Allan fired a 4-under 68 Friday morning to take the clubhouse lead. He only hit seven of 14 fairways, but needed only 28 putts for his five-birdie, one-bogey effort.
"It was obviously pretty tough out there," Allan told reporters. "Just tough to get a feel for anything, I think. I think the guys setting up the course did a decent job."
Allen joined Allan near the top of the leaderboard with a 4-under 68 during the afternoon, his third consecutive 68 on this course. Allen, runner-up in this event a year ago, has now posted all five rounds in the 60s at Atunyote Golf Club.
"It was a nice day for me," Allen told reporters. "It was awfully tough starting out. You're never sure what you're going to get, but I was able to hit a few good shots and make a little putt on the first hole for par, and then things kind of kept going."
Jason Day, Tag Ridings and Carlos Franco are all tied for fourth at 69. Mark Hensby, Troy Matteson, Paul Claxton, Scott Stering, Briany Bair, Bo Van Pelt and Kent Jones are all three shots off the lead.
Allen said the damp, cold playing conditions weren't anything new for him.
"Growing up in northern California we got these courses that are kind of wet and cold," Allen said. "The typical summer day in San Francisco is pretty cold."
Among other players of interest, Brad Faxon was making his first start in nearly 14 months. The eight-time Tour winner, who underwent knee surgery to repair ACL damage in December and has not played on Tour since last year's Wyndham Championship, shot a 4-over 76.
Davis Love III shot a 3-over 75 that included 37 putts. Love three-putted three times during his round.
October 3, 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.
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