David Mathis hoped to start strong at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn., after missing the cut last week in the U.S. Open.
He got his wish.
The 38-year-old Mathis birdied his first hole – the 10th – then had a hole-in-one from 158 yards on the par-3 11th hole. He knocked in a 49-foot birdie putt on his third, was at 6-under par after six holes, and finished with a 6-under 64 for a one-shot lead Thursday.
“It was an awesome start,” said Mathis, who has never finished better than eighth in a PGA Tour event. “I was hitting a lot of great shots (later), and I guess it felt like a lull compared to how I started.”
Nathan Green, Will Claxton and defending champion Fredrik Jacobson shot 65 on a day that saw temperatures soar into the upper 90s.
U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson and Masters winner Bubba Watson played together and finished in a group of 10 at 66. The third member of the threesome, PGA champion Keegan Bradley, shot a 68.
Mathis’ ace was the shot of the day. He said he was just trying to cut a 9-iron close to the pin and hit it exactly where he aimed.
“It kind of bounced and stumbled right and went right in the hole,” he said.
Olympia’s Andres Gonzales fired a 5-under 66 and was three shots off the pace set by Casey Wittenberg after the first round of the Nationwide Tour’s Wichita Open at Crestview Country Club in Wichita, Kan. … Sandra Changkija birdied six of her final eight holes for a career-best 8-under 63 and a three-stroke lead during the suspended first round of the inaugural Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Waterloo, Ontario. Seventy-two players were unable to finish the round because of lightning. … Australia’s Marcus Fraser and Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti shot 8-under 64s to share the first-round lead at the BMW International Open in Pulheim, Germany. England’s Chris Wood and Danny Willett and Ireland’s Paul McGinley were one shot back. John Daly shot a 68.