June 24 2011
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- While the second round was just getting under way, Jim Renner was wrapping up his first with a birdie on the ninth hole to take the lead by himself at 7 under.
The 63 is a career low for Renner, a rookie on the PGA TOUR this season. It also falls one shot shy of the best opening-round score on TOUR this season.
Renner has a special connection to this event. Aside from being born in nearby Boston, it was the first tournament he came to as a kid. He was 14 years old.
“I remember how cool it was and how nice a life it would be,” Renner said.
Now he finds himself in the lead for the first time in a career that’s spanned multiple tours for the 27-year-old, including the Hooters Tour, where he won the 2010 Sunset Hills NGA Classic. He also won the 2009 Maine Open on that tour before eventually qualifying for the PGA TOUR after tying for 22nd at q-school last year.
As for Renner’s round, he made eight birdies and just one bogey, and had a streak of five consecutive birdies starting at the 12th hole. He’ll also have a quick turnaround with a 2:45 p.m. ET tee time in the second round.
“That’s one of the great things about how my tee time worked out,” said Renner, who never played TPC River Highlands before this week. “Hopefully I can ride a good start.”
The 27-year-old Renner is making his 12th start of the year. In his first 11 events, he made six cuts, including a season-best tie for 56th in his last outing, the FedEx St. Jude Classic.