Hendrix leads after opening 63 at Price Cutter CharityJames Nitties sits just one stroke off the lead with 54 holes left to play in Missouri.August 09, 2012
Joe Chemycz, Web.com Tour staff
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Matt Hendrix admits he's not a great, streaky putter but the former Clemson standout looked like he was putting into a bucket in Thursday's opening round of the Price Cutter Charity Championship. Hendrix fired a career-best, 9-under 63 to take the first-day lead at one of the Web.com Tour's annual birdie shootouts.RELATEDLeaderboard
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"It (the hole) never looks bigger than it actually is but when I'm putting well like today, at times it doesn't matter what line I choose, I know they're both right. It's always been good but never overly great and today was great," said Hendrix, who ranks No. 104 in putts per round this year. "Out here with weeks like this, you've got to go full throttle. You've got to aim at every pin."
Hendrix, and the field, took dead aim around the Highland Springs Country Club where the first-round scoring average was 69.692.
"I really haven't had a whole lot of success in tournaments where the numbers get extremely low," said Hendrix, whose previous best days were a couple of 7-under 64s and one 6-under 64. "I went out here today and said I'm just going to be extremely aggressive."
Australia's James Nitties and veteran Doug Barron posted 8-under 64s to share second place.
Nine players, including Chile Classic winner Paul Haley of Dallas, are packed together at 7-under 65 and 11 more are tangled with 66s. Haley closed his day with five birdies in his last six holes and the final four.
"You have to get it red and keep it red," said Jim Herman, who trickled his tee shot into the water at No. 9 and bogeyed his final hole for a round of 65. "You can never make too many birdies. You have to feel that par is 4-under and you go from there. Anything under that is great."
The low-60 players and ties will make Friday's cut and exactly 60 are at 4-under or better. Duplicating that effort in round two would put the cut at a Tour-record pace. The lowest cut in Tour history is 7-under par.
"You might have to go low four days, especially the way these kids play," said the 43-year old Barron. "You just get on a roll. You have to be patient and you hope you get two or three in a row here and two or three in a row there. They're going to shoot these scores all week."
• Two weeks ago, Ben Kohles won the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational in Columbus, Ohio with a 12-under par score. The famed Scarlet Course at Ohio State University yielded a TOTAL of 33 over four days. In comparison, a total of 35 eagles were registered in Thursday's opening round at Highland Springs CC.
• Kohles, who has started his professional career by winning his first two starts in the past two weeks, fired a 3-under 69 today. Kohles hit 13 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens but had 32 total putts. He is T61.
• Doug Barron's career-low score on the Web.com Tour is a 10-under 62, which came in the final round of the 2004 Chattanooga Classic. He also posted a 9-under 63 in the first round of the 2004 Cox Classic.
• Alex Aragon's career-low score on Tour is a 64 (7-under) in the first round of the 2010 Soboba Golf Classic.
• Tag Ridings and Alex Prugh each had a pair of eagles on the back nine. They both eagled the par-5, 11th and the par-5, 18th hole. Ridings shot 66, while Prugh had a 67.
• Brian Stuard became the seventh player in tournament history to post back-to-back eagles. Stuard started his round on the back nine and eagled the par-5, 18th hole to make the turn at 3-under. He then eagled the par-5, 1st hole to move to 5-under.
• Jimmy Brandt closed out his day by not making a single par on his incoming nine. Brandt had six birdies and three bogeys on the front nine to finish his round at 4-under 68.
• Defending champion Steve Friesen shot an even-par 72. He closed out his front nine B-B-E-B and made the turn at 4-under but didn't have another birdie the rest of the way and shot a 4-over 40 on the back.
• Dawie van der Walt, who shot an 11-under 60 in Sunday's final round of the Cox Classic and finished second in Omaha, stumbled to a 2-over 74 today.
• Chris DeForest fired a 6-under 66 today. The former University of Illinois standout missed the cut at last week's Cox Classic mainly due to an opening 77. DeForest bounced back in the second round at Champions Run and posted an 8-under 63 but came up two shots shy of advancing to the weekend.
• Jason Gore shot a 6-under 30 on the front nine. Four players have previously posted 29s on the front. Gore was at 8-under through 17 holes but bogeyed the reachable, par-5, 18th when his second shot found the water that fronts the green.
Round Front 9 (36) Back 9 (36) Total (72) R1 34.846 34.846 69.692
• Course statistics this week:
• The Web.com Tour next moves to the Kansas City area for the Midwest Classic presented by Cadillac. The tournament will be held at the Nicklaus Golf Course at LionsGate in Overland Park, Kan. Aug. 13-19.