Golf: Stroud in tie for first after best round of year

2013-08-16T00:00:00Z Golf: Stroud in tie for first after best round of yearThe Associated Press The Associated Press
August 16, 2013 12:00 am  • 

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Chris Stroud doesn't want any rust in his game for the PGA Tour's playoffs. Ross Fisher just wants to make it that far.

Stroud and Fisher each shot 6-under 64 on Thursday to share the first-round lead in the Wyndham Championship.

Eight players - defending champion Sergio Garcia, Matt Jones, Robert Garrigus, Jordan Spieth, Trevor Immelman, Morgan Hoffman, Patrick Reed and Andrew Svoboda - shot 65.

John Senden and Stuart Appleby were among the five players at 66 at the final tournament before golf's postseason begins next week. It was the highest score for an opening-round leader since the tournament returned to Sedgefield Country Club in 2008.

Stroud had eight birdies during his best round of the year, which came at the Donald Ross-designed course that had vexed him through the previous five years.

"I've even told people I love this golf course," Stroud said. "I have no idea why I don't play well here."

Stroud could've easily skipped this week and rested up for the playoffs. He arrived at No. 48 on the points list and - unlike so many other players here this week - is assured of a spot in the playoff field.

He has played this tournament every year since the crosstown move but made it to the weekend only once - tying for 73rd last year.

After missing the cut at PGA Championship by a stroke, he said he "told my caddie, 'I got to play next week.'

"I'm playing too well to go home and just sit and get rusty," Stroud said. "I said I want to get sharp for The Barclays. Let's go to Greensboro, low expectations since I haven't played that great here."

Those expectations might have been raised after a strong first round in which he made a quick charge up the leaderboard with three straight birdies.

The 31-year-old Texan, who started on the back nine, stuck his tee shot roughly 2 feet from the flagstick on the par-3 seventh and sank that putt to briefly move to 7 under.

He bogeyed the next hole after sending his tee shot into a water hazard, then pushed a 5-foot birdie putt wide on the par-4 ninth and settled for a par.

That capped a round that was two strokes better than his six 66s this year, most recently last month at the Sanderson Farms Championship.

Fisher, a four-time winner on the European Tour who's a rookie on the PGA Tour and at No. 162 on the points list, was in the day's final threesome to start on the back nine, and he made his climb late.

"My manager said, 'You've got nothing to lose. Just go out there all guns blazing and see what happens,' " Fisher said.

U.S. Amateur

BROOKLINE, Mass. - Qualifying medalists Neil Raymond and Brady Watt each won two matches Thursday to advance to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals at The Country Club.

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