Talk about a hot start. Troy Mattesson has just made the turn and birdied Nos. 1 and 2 to move to 7 under through 12 holes.
With that sizzling stretch, Mattesson has joined Ricky Barnes at the top of the leaderboard. Another afternoon starter, Nathan Green, has made six birdies in his first 13 holes to pull into the logjam one shot off the lead.
Mattesson, who is a two-time winner of the Frys.com Open, could use a good start. He's only broken 70 once in the first round and hasn't finished higher than a tie for 26th at The Honda Classic this year.
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Temperatures are soaring well into the 90s here, and a heat index that’s into triple digits. It hasn’t affected scoring, though, with Nathan Green the early clubhouse leader after a 5-under 65.
“That's probably the only advantage of teeing off at 6:50,” Green said. “It was great out there. The greens are perfect, and it really wasn't too hot. We got a little bit of wind on the back nine. But perfect conditions.”
The Aussie got off to a fast start, making the turn in 31 after five birdies and one bogey on the back nine. He made just one birdie the rest of the round, however.
Still, it’s a good start for Green, who has missed three of his last four cuts and had just three other opening rounds in the 60s this year.
“It was just good to get off to a good start,” Green said. “It's been pretty rare the last two years, so hopefully keep it going.”
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – As the morning wave finishes on a windy Thursday, there is big group at the top of the leaderboard that includes the No. 1 player in the world.
Luke Donald, who is bidding to wrest the PGA TOUR money title from Webb Simpson, is among six players shooting 66. Simpson, who played with Donald, is two strokes back in the spirited competition.
“I know for most of the round I played a pretty solid round of golf today,” Donald, who trials by $363,029. “Couple loose shots at the ed. Wasn’t that easy out there. I think the wind was strong enough to make it a little bit tricky with club selection.
“Six birdies, no bogeys is always a good round.”
The last time the money title changed hands in the final week of the season was in 1996 when Tom Lehman overtook Phil Mickelson at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Two of the other leaders have their 2012 PGA TOUR cards at stake. James Driscoll came into the week ranked No. 125 on the money list while Nathan Green is No. 175.
Two of other three players tied at 6 under picked up their first TOUR wins this year – Scott Stallings and Gary Woodland – while Arjun Atwal broke through in Greensboro last season.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – No matter what happens this week, Nathan Green will have status on the PGA TOUR in 2012 as a past champion.
But the two-year exemption he gained for winning the RBC Canadian Open runs out this week. Adding to the challenge is that Green entered the Children’s Miracle Network Classic ranked 175th on the money list – when only the top 125 get their TOUR cards.
With his back figuratively against the wall, Green is playing well on Thursday at the Palm Course. He’s 5 under through 15 holes – which puts him one shot off the lead held jointly by James Driscoll, Arjun Atwal and Luke Donald.
Green is currently projected at No. 143 on the money list. Should he finish there, Green would get to play out of the 126-150 money list category next year.
That would likely net him in the neighborhood of 15-18 starts but without the luxury of being able to plan his schedule. Green would also be exempt into the final stage of q-school if he finishes inside 150 on the money list.
Jhonattan Vegas shoots an 8-under 63 to tie William McGirt for the overnight lead.