Daily Wrap-up: The Greenbrier Classic, Round 1
Round 1 Recap: The Greenbrier Classic 2013
In the opening round of the The Greenbrier Classic, Tommy Gainey and Johnson Wagner are tied for the lead at 8-under.July 04, 2013
By PGATOUR.COM wire reports
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- The mustache is gone, and for one round at least, Johnson Wagner also didn't have to deal with playing bad golf.
Wagner and Tommy Gainey each shot an 8-under 62 on Thursday to share a two-stroke lead after the first round of The Greenbrier Classic.
Webb Simpson and Jin Park were close behind after 64s. Daniel Summerhays, Tag Ridings, Steven Bowditch and 50-year-old Neal Lancaster were another shot back.
Players were able to lift, clean and place their balls Thursday after rain fell prior to the start of play.
Gainey and Wagner had bogey-free rounds in the morning. Wagner was 8 under after 12 holes but finished with six straight pars. Both could use a good week -- Gainey is 128th in the FedExCup standings while Wagner ranks 145th.
Wagner doesn't have a top-10 finish this year and the three-time TOUR champion hasn't won since the 2012 Sony Open in Hawaii. In his last seven tournaments, he's missed six cuts and withdrew from the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.
"The last couple of months have been really hard," Wagner said. "I just haven't been much fun to be around. It's just been tough. Nobody likes to be bad at what they do, especially golfers."
A product of Virginia Tech -- which is less than two hours from The Old White TPC course -- Wagner chipped in for eagle on the par-5 12th, then finished with six straight pars.
"I've been disappointed with 76s and 79s the last month, so I'm very happy to be disappointed with a 62 today," said Wagner, who shaved his well-talked-about mustache in a nod to his wife for their seventh wedding anniversary on Monday.
"I didn't get her a gift. So I thought maybe surprising her with a clean lip would suffice," he said.
The mustache will return at some point.
"I love irritating my wife too much to let it go for too long," he said.
Gainey's first PGA TOUR victory came last fall at the McGladrey Classic, but like Wagner he has missed more cuts than he's made this year.
Nicknamed "Two Gloves" for wearing gloves on both hands, Gainey had a serious talk with his wife, two other family members and his agent in the past month to try to figure out how to turn around his bad fortunes. Gainey said he had stopped having fun on the course.
"I had gotten away from that and I'm trying to get back into that now," he said. "I felt like I knew what was going on. I was putting too much pressure on myself."
Shot of the Day: Lancaster
Neal Lancaster holes a birdie chip shot on the par-4 11th hole.
Not Thursday, when he missed just one fairway with a new driver in his bag.
"Hitting out of the rough is no fun," Gainey said. "Trust me, I've been doing it for the past three years."
Wagner admitted he had thoughts of shooting 59. Gainey knows what it's like to flirt with the magic number, which only five players have attained in official PGA TOUR events. He shot 60 in the McGladrey Classic's final round.
At the inaugural Greenbrier Classic in 2010, Stuart Appleby shot 59 in the final round to win at 22 under. With favorable scoring conditions this week, there's already talk about surpassing that. On Thursday, the top eight scores produced just nine total bogeys.
"I believe you can get to at least 20 (under) this week," Gainey said. "It depends on how much rain we get and how much softer this course gets."
Lancaster's lone PGA TOUR win came at the 1994 Byron Nelson Classic. He's won $83,000 in five Champions Tour events this year. With an early second-round tee time, he knew where he was heading after Thursday's round.
"To bed. Fifty-year-old guys don't want to play golf at 7:20 in the morning," he said.
Among those at 2 under were Bill Haas, coming off a win at Congressional last week, and Ryan Palmer, whose caddie this week is New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton.
Phil Mickelson, playing for the first time since finishing second to Justin Rose at the U.S. Open, struggled to a 74. His tee shot on the par-5 17th landed in Howard's Creek and he three-putted for triple bogey. He also had five bogeys and four birdies.
A similar round on Friday would mean his third missed cut of the year and the third consecutive time he's failed to advance to weekend play at the Greenbrier Classic.
"I don't know what it is," Mickelson said. "I felt like I was playing really well heading in here. I don't play this course well. I don't know what the reasoning is. It's just given me problems the last few years."
About the leaders: Tommy Gainey and Johnson Wagner • Gainey, No. 128 in the FedExCup standings, came into the week struggling statistically. At No. 150 in Driving Accuracy (56.17 percent), he defied that trend, missing just one fairway (No. 6/left intermediate cut). • Gainey’s lone win on the PGA TOUR came at last year’s McGladrey Classic, where he began the final round seven strokes off the lead. A career-low, 10-under 60 resulted in a one-stroke win over David Toms. • Gainey is making his third consecutive start at the Greenbrier Classic, with today being just his second sub-par score. He managed a 4-under 66 in round two last year, en route to a 72nd-place finish. He finished T57 in 2011. • Following a 5-under 29 on the front side, Johnson Wagner went par-birdie-eagle on Nos. 10-12 en route to a career-best, 8-under 62. Before today, Wagner’s career-low score was a 63, posted three times. • Wagner comes into the week on the heels of six straight missed cuts and a withdraw (Memorial Tournament). In 18 starts this season, he has made just six cuts. By comparison, his previous worst ratio was 15 made cuts in 33 starts in his rookie year of 2007. The Old White TPC: Thursday Easiest hole Toughest hole
The par-5 17th was the easiest hole with a Thursday scoring average of 4.744.
EAGLES: 0 | BIRDIES: 61 | PARS: 78 | BOGEYS: 14 | OTHERS: 3
The par-4 second was the toughest hole with a Friday scoring average of 4.181.
EAGLES: 0 | BIRDIES: 13 | PARS: 107 | BOGEYS: 29 | OTHERS: 6