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The Tour Report

September 29 2011

5:43 PM

Green steady en route to early lead

Live Report Image
Halleran/Getty Images
Nathan Green carded seven birdies and no bogeys Thursday at TPC Summerlin.
By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM Sometimes it just takes a little time away. Because he missed the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, Nathan Green hadn’t made a start on TOUR in more than a month. Green tied for 52nd at his last start (Wyndham Championship). There, he was struggling off the tee which caused him to hit just 65 percent of his greens in regulation. Green had nine bogeys or worse against 12 birdies for the week in Greensboro. Fast forward to Thursday at TPC Summerlin where Green came roaring out of the gates with a bogey-free 7-under 64 for the first round lead of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Green hit it long (304.5 average) and straight (10 of 14 fairways) off the tee allowing to hit 14 greens in regulation. “Today it just sort of all clicked a little bit,” Green said. “It's just one of those days where I sort of drove it a little -- just been struggling off the tee and felt like it's just gone through the rest of the game. And the putting has not been where it needs to be.” Not only was Green’s 64 the best round of career in this event, it tied the lowest number he’s posted all year. He posted a 64 during Round 2 of this year’s John Deere Classic on another par 71, and a 64 in the opening round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial (Par 70). “I made a couple of really nice up-and-downs, but it was just one of those real steady rounds where I just managed to pick up -- there's probably three or four sort of unexpected birdies out there,” Green said. “And yeah, just no mistakes, which was nice. (I had) no bogeys which was pretty unusual.” The 2009 RBC Canadian Open champion enters this week at No. 178th on the money list. He knows his TOUR card is in jeopardy but is focusing on getting his game together first and foremost. “It would just be nice to play some good golf; to play well this week and the next three weeks,” Green said. “I would be happy with that. I would like to keep my card, but even if I didn't, just to play some nice golf, just would take the pressure off.” Green’s last top-10 finish came in January of 2010 at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Since then, he’s made 27 cuts in 49 starts and just 11 in 22 with a top finish of 23rd this year. “Probably the last year and a half, my short game has not been good enough to compete,” Green said. “And my first few years on TOUR, I was able to hit the ball where I could to get it around and struggled to do it lately. Today was good. Felt like I left the course with a couple better than I deserved, so that was good.”