By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Thanks to his course-record 10-under 60, Keegan Bradley has a three-shot lead after Thursday's first round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
Bradley also tied the tournament record and posted his own career low round on the PGA TOUR with his one eagle, 10 birdie, two bogey round. Bradley's first TOUR win came at the HP Byron Nelson in 2011.
His 60 matches the low round on TOUR this year. Phil Mickelson shot a 60 in the opening round of the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
"It was a special day," Bradley said.
Bradley has the first-round lead for the second time in his career. He lead the 2011 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola after the first round but finished tied for 11th. Just one 18-hole leader in the last 19 years of the HP Byron Nelson has gone on to win (Jason Day in 2010).
Bradley leads Charl Schwartzel by three strokes. Three players -- Robert Karlsson, Harris English and Ted Potter Jr. -- are another stroke back.
Tied for sixth are Angel Cabrera, Camilo Villegas and Ryan Palmer.
Villegas was at 8 under after he eagled the par-5 16th, the only other player than Bradley to reach that number. But he double bogeyed the 17th and bogeyed the 18th.
Prime scoring conditions were available in the morning, with soft greens, no wind and preferred lies. Of the top 13 players on the leaderboard, 12 played in the morning. The morning scoring average of 69.41 was more than a half-stroke lower than the afternoon (70.12).
Marc Leishman had the low afternoon round at 66.
"60 is a obviously a great score from Keegan," Leishman said. "It's a long tournament. Hopefully 72 holes will give us a chance to make some of that up."
Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old amateur from China, shot an even-par 70 in his attempt to make the cut for the third time in as many starts on the PGA TOUR. Last month, Guan became the youngest player to make the cut at the Masters.
Of the 156 players in the field, 97 shot par or better.
Marc Leishman holed a 22-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole in Thursday's first round.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- For the second time in his last three starts on the PGA TOUR, Marc Leishman opened with a bogey-free round.
The Australian shot a 4-under 66 in Thursday's first round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship. At the RBC Heritage last month, he opened with a bogey-free 4-under 67 en route to finishing tied for ninth.
That result is one of three consecutive top-10 finishes Leishman had entering this tournament. So it's no surprise that he started strong on Thursday, especially since he's played well at the TPC Four Seasons Resort.
In four starts here, he has three finishes of top-12 or better, including a tie for third last year.
"I think I'm playing steady, hitting fairways," the Australian said about his recent stretch of good play. "Not all the fairways but hitting a lot of the fairways ... and I think the putting is starting to come around. That's important if you want to be contending."
Leishman had the low round of any player who teed off in the afternoon. He knows that scoring conditions were more favorable in the morning, but he hopes he'll have similar conditions on Friday morning when he tees off.
Asked if he thinks he got the bad end of the draw, Leishman said, "You don't think about it too much, to be honest. You just play your own game and have as good of a score as you can and add 'em up at the end of the day."
One thing he'd like to see, however, is more wind. His hometown of Warrnambool is known as "Windy Warrnambool" for a reason.
"I think the winds are going to be stronger in the week," he said. "Looking forward to that."
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
IRVING, Texas -- They like to do things large in Texas and you can’t get much bigger than carding a 60.
Keegan Bradley caught the golf course at its most vulnerable place and took advantage. Two inches of rain pelted TPC Four Seasons overnight, necessitating preferred lies. With ball in hand, Bradley was able to hit 15 of 18 greens and took 24 putts. The longest putt he made was 17 feet and he hit it an average distance of 18 feet from the cup. Bradley played his last three holes in 4 under. He had a huge smile on his face while leaving the scoring tent saying, “I’m so excited. It just seemed so easy.”
The 10-under total gave him the first-round lead at the HP Byron Nelson Championship and also ties Bradley for low round of the year with his friend, Phil Mickelson. Bradley said he hasn’t beaten Mickelson in any Tuesday practice round this year but that opening-round 60 will take away some of Mickelson’s bragging rights.
Conditions: PGA TOUR Officials arrived at TPC Four Seasons early in the morning and were afraid play would be delayed. More than 2 inches of water hit the course during a violent storm and several bunkers were damaged. Maintenance crews did a tremendous job getting the course playable for a 7 a.m. start. Tornados hit cities just 30 miles from the course and no PGA TOUR player was going to complain about the condition of any bunker.
Greens in regulation: Charl Schwartzel leads the tournament in greens in regulation, hitting 18 of 18. He might also lead the tournament in discipline. Schwartzel hit every green and yet he intentionally played away from some holes he called “sucker” pins. There were six holes cut four paces from the edge of greens and the South African showed the discipline not to challenge those locations. It is very difficult not to be greedy when you are playing well and it’s a lesson Schwartzel applied while shooting a 7-under 63.
Insects that bite: Justin Leonard is from Texas, so he knows all about fire ants. That experience did not stop him from being attacked in the opening round. He accidentally stood on an ant pile and the large red insects attacked his leg, painfully biting him several times. It was severe enough to call officials for help, who gave Leonard ibuprofen tablets that allowed him to continue playing.
Scouting: There is a reason Steve “Pepsi” Hale is considered such a good caddie. He is prepared. During a delay in play at the fifth hole, Hale walked over to the ninth green to get a better idea where the hole was located. His player, Bradley, knew it was nine paces on and five off the right-hand side, but “Pepsi” was able to pinpoint the exact location in the yardage book. That advance scouting paid off when Bradley hit his approach to within 3 feet and sank the putt to close out a 10 under 60.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here
IRVING, Texas -- In Thursday's opening round of the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship, 14-year-old amateur Guan Tianlang of China holed a 13-foot birdie putt on the par-4 ninth hole.
IRVING, Texas -- The low scores are less prevalent for the afternoon wave in Thursday's first round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship. But that hasn't prevented Marc Leishman from continuing his hot play of late.
Leishman is 5 under through 14 holes, the best round of any player still on the course. Although catching Keegan Bradley and his course-record 60 isn't likely, Leishman will be in great shape entering Friday's second round, particularly if prime scoring conditions are available when he tees off in the morning.
Patrick Reed (through 16 holes) and Andrew Svoboda (through 10) are also playing well this afternoon.
Jordan Spieth, the 19-year-old from Dallas who contended here three years ago, is 1 under through 13.
Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old amateur from China, is also 1 under through 10. He's looking to make the cut for the third time in as many starts on the PGA TOUR.
IRVING, Texas -- Check out these video highlights from Keegan Bradley's course-record 60 that he shot in Thursday's first round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship. The video above is his eagle on the par-5 seventh.
Bradley's birdie at the ninth. Watch
Bradley's birdie at the eighth. Watch
Bradley's birdie at the fifth. Watch
Bradley's birdie at the second. Watch
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Charl Schwartzel's first competitive round at the TPC Four Seasons Resort course went pretty well.
Actually, better than that.
Schwartzel, making his first start in the HP Byron Nelson Championship, opened with a bogey-free 7-under 63, just two shots off the old course record -- but three shots off the new one set by Keegan Bradley, who opened with a 60 on Thursday.
Schwartzel won't complain about being in second place, though. He knows having a morning tee time on Thursday was a huge advantage after severe weather the night before dropped 1-1/2 inches of rain on the course, softening up the greens and allowing for players to fire at the pins. Without any morning winds, TPC Four Seasons was left virtually defenseless.
"You couldn't ask for much better (conditions)," the South African said. "... Seems like you don't get many of those opportunities, so being out here first was a bit of an advantage."
The 63 ties for Schwartzel's low round on the PGA TOUR. He also shot 63 in the final round of last year's World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
The key to this 63 was Schwartzel's iron play. He hit every green in regulation.
"There were a few flags tucked away," he said, "but with the greens being soft, you could spin it into the corners."
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- On Tuesday, Ryan Palmer flew to San Antonio to attend the burial services of his childhood friend, Clay Aderholt, who died last week in an auto accident. He flew back home to the Dallas-Fort Worth area that night, had dinner with his family and woke up Wednesday morning for his 4:30 a.m. wake-up call to make his pro-am tee time, emotionally drained and physically exhausted.
Despite still being "half-asleep" Thursday morning, Palmer hoped to find a sense of normalcy after the tragic turn of events.
Going low in the opening round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship certainly seems quite normal for Palmer now. His 5-under 65 on Thursday marks the third consecutive year the local resident has opened with a hot round at the TPC Four Seasons Resort. He opened with a 65 in 2011 and eventually finished second, losing in a playoff to Keegan Bradley. Last year, he opened with a 64 and finished tied for ninth.
That came on the heels of seven previous years in which Palmer struggled at this course, missing the cut six times.
"It's starting to look better to my eye," Palmer said. "Obviously, it didn't look good at all for seven years. Now I can say I love this golf course."
Thursday's round certainly bodes well for his chances the rest of the week. And if anybody could use an uplifting week, it would be Palmer, who was eating dinner after his opening round of THE PLAYERS Championship last week when he got the news of Aderholt's death, whom he's known since the school days growing up in Amarillo. For the rest of the week, he wore the initials of his close friend on his caps en route to finishing tied for fifth.
He gave his white cap to Clay's widow, Allison and signed it to their 4-year-old son Reid. He gave his black cap to Clay's dad. On Thursday, there were no initials.
"I think it was time for me to get back into the swing of things here," Palmer said. "But we will always remember him and maybe we can honor him even more on Sunday afternoon."
Indeed, nothing would be more appropriate than Palmer winning the HP Byron Nelson. And just like the previous two years, Palmer is letting his caddie James Edmondson select the clubs at this event. It's an unique approach but one that has worked here.
On Thursday, Edmondson wasn't even bothering to give Palmer the yardage to the pin.
"He would say, 'Hit this 8-iron' and I was like, 'How far is it?' Because that helps a little bit," Palmer said as he laughed. "... It seems to work here. It's kind of a strange thing."
It also helped that Palmer rolled in three putts from around 30 feet each. When he made his last one at the ninth hole -- his 18th of the day -- for birdie, Palmer turned to playing partner John Daly and apologized.
"I said, 'I'm sorry. I've got to giggle about that one' because he was banging right and left and I was just making any putt," Palmer said.
If he keeps it up for another three days, Palmer may very well find the winner's circle ... and provide a fitting tribute to Clay Aderholt.
IRVING, Texas -- In Thursday's opening round of the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship, defending champion Jason Dufner holed a 129-yard eagle approach shot on the par-4 first hole. Dufner eventually finished at even-par 70.
IRVING, Texas -- HP Byron Nelson Championship officials are asking fans to "Be a Part of the Heart" by wearing red for Saturday's third round at the TPC Four Seasons Resort course.
The wear-red campaign is in support of the HP Byron Nelson's charity, the Salesmanship Club Youth and Family Centers for at-risk kids.
For every fan who wears red, HP will donate $1 to the Salesmanship Club Youth and Family Centers.
This is the first year the tournament has asked fans to wear red on Saturday.