Piercy's flying start to PGA Tour season
Photo Source: AP
American Scott Piercy has begun the new US PGA Tour season in sensational form, shooting a course record 10-under-par 62 to take a two-shot lead in the Safeway Open.
Morning conditions were perfect at the Silverado course in Napa, California and Piercy took advantage.
He made 12 birdies, only three of them from inside 10 feet, and he even missed a pair of birdie chances from inside eight feet.
He wasn't alone in attacking Silverado.
Englishman Paul Casey, coming off a pair of runner-up finishes in the FedEx Cup playoffs that signalled a return to form, birdied his last three holes for a 64 to be tied second with Patton Kizzire.
The seven Australians in the field failed to cash in with Aaron Baddeley. John Senden and Cameron Smith the best in a tie for 40th at two-under and Greg Chalmers at one under.
Rod Pampling shot even par while Geoff Ogilvy had a 75 and Steve Bowditch a 78.
Phil Mickelson , playing a domestic PGA Tour event in the fall for the first time in a decade, overcame a bogey-bogey start to post a 69, along with playing partner and defending champion Emiliano Grillo.
Bill Haas was added to that group when Tiger Woods withdrew and showed no vulnerability in his game by posting a 66, the best score of the afternoon.
Mickelson and Casey have had the best calendar years without winning based on the world ranking points they have earned.
Piercy, at least on paper, had one of his better years.
He earned $US2.9 million. He had a chance to win a major at the US Open until Dustin Johnson pulled away at Oakmont, and Johnson beat him by one shot at a World Golf Championships tournament.
But those runner-up finishes in big events covered up an atrocious year with the putter.
Piercy was 156th in the most important putting statistic, which is what held him back most of the year.
It's what carried him Thursday. He holed a pair of 18-foot birdie putts on successive holes early in his round, and kept pouring them in, one after another, to offset a pair of bogeys from the bunkers on the par-4 third hole and the par-3 seventh late in his round.
"I think I made more feet of putts than I did all last season,'' he said.
"I've been working on the putter a lot and trying to get some things figured out. Today was a good start to the season, good start to get some confidence going with the putter.''