By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- When Carl Pettersson came in for his pre-tournament interview on Wednesday, he said he thought Sedgefield would play harder after the switch from Bent to Bermudagrass on the greens.
"Lot of these slopes in the greens with the speed of the greens are a major factor now," Pettersson had said that day. "So it's very difficult to two-putt from long range and little harder to get close on the second shots."
Not that Pettersson seemed to have a problem on a windless Thursday morning as he fired an 8-under 62 that was one shot off the course record he set during his 2008 victory. He didn't make a bogey and surged to the top of the leaderboard with a string of four straight birdies on the back nine.
"If you put the ball in the fairway you can still score,"
Pettersson said. "It's probably easier to make putts now because
the greens are pure.
"But if you're missing the fairways you're going to have a tougher time making par and I got fortunate today, I missed a few fairways but I had a decent lie in the rough and was able to get it on the green. ... If you're playing well you can definitely score around here, sure."
Pettersson got momentum early with birdies on two of his first three holes, rolling in putts of 6 and 17 feet. He turned in 31 and reeled off four straight pars before two-putting the par-5 fifth from 15 feet to start the birdie barrage. Putts of 7, 2 and 11 feet followed.
"I started off the round good with two birdies in the first
three holes and got me kind of straight back into the score mode
from last week," said Pettersson, who tied for third at the PGA. "I
wasn't sure, sometimes after a great week you sometimes feel a
little bit flat the next week but I think it helped getting off to
such a good start and I played solid.
"I hit it pretty good off the tee and hit my irons good and putted really well. It was a great day for me."
Pettersson, who went to high school in Greensboro but plans to commute from his Raleigh home the next three days, said Sedgefield suits his eye. He’s only had one round over par in his last five, four of which came at a major championship, so he knows he’s playing well.
"I think this game is very streaky," Pettersson said. "We get on
a good run you got to keep going and seems like when you're playing
well you never think you're going to play bad. When you're playing
bad you never think you're going to play well.
"For sure, I think it is a very streaky game. Once you get on a streak you got to take advantage of it and, you know, put the pedal down and go for it."