By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- The southern drawl should be a dead giveaway.
But Kentucky's own Josh Teater has been mistaken for Sergio Garcia more than once during his career. The first time was way back at the 2000 U.S. Amateur when a caddy at Baltusrol told him he looked like the famous Spaniard. It’s happened fairly regularly since.
"I remember an instance at West Virginia last year, a lady came up to me with her daughter and was like, my daughter carried the standard bearer sign for you," Teater recalled another confusing incident. "I didn't remember it.
"... Then I had a pretty lengthy two- or three-minute conversation trying to tell her that I was from Kentucky, because the guy next to her had a Kentucky hat on, and even after that she still didn't believe it."
Two weeks ago, Teater played one group away from Garcia at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and the two were signing autographs at the same time. Garcia leaned over to Teater and gave him free rein.
"He said, 'Feel free to sign my name if you'd like.'" Teater said with a grin. Not that he ever has -- even though sometimes tempted.
"I haven't felt like I've known him well enough to," Teater said. "I never want to upset a fan or anything by not signing something, but I always say, I'm glad to sign it but I'm not Sergio, and they still don't believe it."
Let there be no confusion this week at the Memorial Tournament. Garcia isn't playing and Teater is. In fact, that's the Kantuckian's name at the top of the leaderboard at 5 under, one stroke behind Chris Riley.
Teater set the tone for the day with a 22-footer for eagle at the 11th hole, his second of the day. He was 5 under through seven holes before giving a couple back with bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17.
Teater bounced back well on the front nine, making birdies on Nos. 2, 5 and 7 to briefly tie for the lead. He gave one shot back when he missed a 5-footer for par at the eighth hole but has put himself in great position.
The 67 was Teater's sixth sub-70 score in the first round of his last seven tournaments -- and eight of his last 11. That said, he's still looking for his first top-10 of the season after posting two in his rookie campaign last year. So putting four rounds together is key.
Teater, who went to school at Morehead State, has plenty of support with him this week at Muirfield Village, and many of the 40 or so people he got tickets for have t-shirts that say; Teater's Troops.
"That came about in '09 in Utah when I won the Utah Championship (on the Nationwide Tour)," Teater said. "A guy I went to high school with was living out there. He and his friends showed up with white t shirts, 'Teater's Troops,' Sharpie, on the front. Ended up winning the tournament, they got on TV.
"My stepbrother and my mom kind of saw that as an opportunity to make up a few shirts for some good friends and family. I think they made like two or three orders of them, and there was some people, I think, asking for them for this week, but we don't really have them in stock. It might be time for a new design, too."