Tim Clark found just nine of 14 fairways during his opening seven-under-par 63 in the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour, but it was enough to keep him in close contact with the lead.
His former college roommate Carl Pettersson continued his run of fine recent form with an eight-under to lead by one from Clark and David Mathis.
ÂI got off to a shaky start with the driver, missed my first few fairways,Â said Clark. ÂI managed to scramble par. Once I started to hit the ball a little better I gave myself a lot more chances for birdie.Â
He grabbed five of those chances, and also made eagle on the fifth on his way in after he started his round on the 10th.
And while he was not as accurate as he would have liked, his putting came to the party, a point which he emphasised with a snaking 33-footer for birdie on his closing hole, the ninth: ÂI didnÂt want to come up short, a tricky putt but, you know, I used great imagination on the greens all day,Â he said. ÂI was able to read the putt. Obviously hit it a little bit firm. Probably would have missed the green if it didnÂt hit the hole.Â
Clark, who has won the South African Open Championship twice, came into the tournament on the back of a share of 11th in the final major of the year, the PGA Championship, and a couple of days off in the Bahamas by way of preparation.
ÂWe shot off to the Bahamas for a few days after Kiawah,Â he said. ÂIt was a brutal week. I felt like I needed a little bit of relaxation.Â
It certainly worked for him, and he appears to be well over the elbow surgery which made 2011 such a miserable year for him.
Further back in the field, Trevor Immelman and Charl Schwartzel each carded a three-under 67, Rory Sabbatini was two-under and Garth Mulroy one-under.