Pettersson has his way at Wyndham Championship

Carl Pettersson made the most of playing on his home course, taking a 1-shot lead.
Carl Pettersson made the most of playing on his home course, taking a 1-shot lead. –hunter martin/getty images

If any member’s bounces went Carl Pettersson’s way Thursday at Sedgefield Country Club, well, there’s a good reason for that.

‘‘That’s right — I am a member,’’ Pettersson said, laughing. ‘‘I forgot.’’

Pettersson shot an 8-under-par 62 to take the first-round lead in the Wyndham Championship at Greensboro, N.C.

David Mathis and Tim Clark were a stroke back, Tom Gillis, Scott Stallings, and Troy Matteson shot 64, and Matt Every had a 65 in the final event before the FedEx Cup playoffs.

The top of the leaderboard had a decidedly local flavor. Pettersson went to high school in Greensboro and lives in Raleigh, and both he and Clark played at North Carolina State. Mathis grew up in Winston-Salem, played collegiately at Campbell, and lives north of Raleigh in the town of Wake Forest.


Pettersson, a Swede who became an American citizen during the offseason, had the best first round of his PGA Tour career and his best round at this event since 2008, when he set the tournament record with a second-round 61 and went on to win in his adopted hometown.

Starting on the back nine, he reeled off consecutive birdies on Nos. 5-8 to move to 8 under. He had a chance to match his record on No. 9, but pushed his 30-foot birdie putt roughly a foot to the right of the hole.

Despite that, it was yet another strong round for Pettersson, who won the RBC Heritage in April and has five top-10 finishes this year. That included a tie for third at the PGA Championship last week — which would have been a second-place finish had he not been assessed a two-stroke penalty in the final round for grazing a leaf with his backswing while hitting out of a lateral water hazard.

‘‘I think this game is very streaky,’’ Pettersson said. ‘‘We get on a good run, you’ve got to keep going and it seems like when you’re playing well, you never think you’re going to play bad. When you’re playing bad, you never think you’re going to play well.’’


Pettersson was part of one of the most closely followed threesomes of the day, joining US Open champ Webb Simpson (Wake Forest) and Davis Love III (North Carolina) as previous winners of this tournament who played for schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference — which was founded here in 1953. — Aaron Watkins and Jason Gore each shot 6-under 65 in the first round, sharing a one-shot lead in the Midwest Classic in Overland Park, Kan. Michael Connell and Christopher DeForest were tied for second.

US Amateur — In a match between teammates, Justin Thomas beat top seed and fellow University of Alabama player Bobby Wyatt, 1 up, to advance to the quarterfinals at Cherry Hills. Thomas will face Australian Oliver Goss, a 2-and-1 winner over Bobby Leopold of Cranston, R.I.

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European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal announced three of his four vice-captains — Irishmen Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark — for the Sept. 28-30 match against the United States at Medinah Country Club in Chicago.

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