Corey Pavin started strong and finished with a flourish for one of the best rounds of his career and a three-stroke lead at the inaugural Buick Championship yesterday in Cromwell, Conn.
Pavin matched his career low with an 8-under-par 62 at TPC at River Highlands. It was a season low for the 44-year-old Pavin and the best round in his 12 appearances at the tournament formerly called the Greater Hartford Open.
Pavin has contended in this event several times, especially in the mid-1990s when he finished with a second and a third.
"I've had good success in the past and for some reason, I play OK," Pavin said. "Any time you get to a golf course you feel comfortable on, you just feel good that you might shoot a good score or things are going to come together. And today was a day that everything seemed to come together."
Bob Burns and Matt Weibring are second at 65. Bunched together four strokes behind the leader with 66s were Fred Funk, David Peoples, Jerry Kelly, Jason Dufner, and Craig Bowden.
Pavin's round was one stroke off the tournament record held by three players -- two-time champ Phil Mickelson, Scott Verplank, and Kirk Triplett.
Pavin took advantage of ideal scoring conditions in his morning round after heavy fog lifted and softened the greens at TPC at River Highlands. Pavin holed a 120-yard wedge shot on the 341-yard second hole for an eagle. His seven-birdie round included a 45-foot chip-in at No. 18 that brought a roar from the gallery.
LPGA -- Laura Diaz had a run of five straight birdies and was tied for the lead with Jill McGill and Hilary Lunke at 6-under 66 after the opening round of the
Lorena Ochoa, who earned her first LPGA Tour victory in May, and rookie Mikaela Parmlid also had 67s.
Champions -- Jose Maria Canizares birdied his last hole to complete a 5-under 67 and share the first-round lead with Bruce Summerhays and Vicente Fernandez at the Tradition in Aloha, Ore. Fuzzy Zoeller was one shot back at the soggy Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in the fifth and final major of the season on the Champions Tour.
European -- Two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen shot a 6-under 66 for the first-round lead at the BMW Open in Nord Eichenried, Germany, and Colin Montgomerie was a stroke behind and bolstered his chances of making the Ryder Cup team. Goosen had eight birdies and two bogeys at a tournament in which European players are scrambling to qualify for the Ryder Cup.