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October 14 2011

12:46 AM

Notes: Last year's leaders start slow

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Heath Slocum opened his title defense with an even-par 70 that has him seven shots back.
By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- Here are some odds and ends from the first day at Sea Island: NOT-SO-HAPPY RETURN: Seven of the top eight from last year’s final leaderboard are back at Sea Island for the second year of this event. Charles Howell III is the only one in red numbers at 1 under. Defending champion Heath Slocum is even, along with Robert Allenby, who tied for third last year. The one player missing from the group? Bill Haas, who is doing all right with his TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and FedExCup trophies. FEATURED GROUP UPDATE: None of the members of our Featured Group were able to take advantage of early conditions at Sea Island. The trio of St. Simons Island residents managed a combined total of even in Round 1. Heading the group with his son Dru on the bag was tournament host Davis Love III with a 1-under 69. Zach Johnson came in at 70 while Brandt Snedeker double bogeyed No. 9 for a 71. ROUGH DAY FOR RICKIE: Fresh of his first professional victory in Korea, Rickie Fowler opened play with a 3-over 73 at Sea Island. The reigning Rookie of the Year, still in search of his first TOUR victory, mustered just one birdie and hit just 11 greens in regulation. Currently tied for 117th, Fowler will need a strong second round to make it to the weekend. CLASS REUNION: Is one year too soon for a class reunion? Not if you’re the q-school class of 2010. The 29-man class has 22 players in the field this week. Half of them are ranked T26 or better with five inside the top 10. Zack Miller, who is tied for the lead at 7 under, highlights the group. But Billy Horschel (-6), Cameron Tringale (-5), Michael Thompson (-5) and Richard S. Johnson (-5) are right on his heels. If the cut were to happen today, 15 of the 2010 graduates would make it to the weekend.
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