Carl Pettersson continued his run of hot recent form by shooting an 8-under 62 today to take the first-round lead in the Wyndham Championship.
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 PGA event before the FedEx Cup playoffs.
The top of the leaderboard had a decidedly local flavor. Pettersson went to high school in Greensboro, calls Raleigh home, and both he and Clark played at North Carolina State. Mathis grew up in Winston-Salem, went to Campbell and lives north of Raleigh.
Pettersson, a Swede who became an American citizen during the offseason, had his best round at the Wyndham since 2008, when he set the tournament record with a second-round 61 and went on to win in his adopted hometown.
If any member's bounces went his 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."
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.
"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."
Clark was bogey-free and had an eagle on the par-5 fifth. He landed his second shot roughly 8 feet from the flagstick and sank the ensuing putt for one of the 11 eagles on that hole.
"I've got to keep pace with Carl," Clark said. "When he goes low, he really goes low. If I'm able to hang in there, it's going to be a lot of fun."
Mathis, who has just one top-10 finish this year, arrived at this tournament No. 136 on the FedEx Cup points list, and the top 125 qualify for The Barclays.
Mathis was bogey-free and had three straight birdies on Nos. 13-15 to move to 7 under before closing his round with three pars.
"I tried not to think about it, but it's really difficult not to think about because it's such a big part of the year," Mathis said. "Your life can change really quick in the FedEx Cup if you play well."
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