Davis Love III shot a seven-under 63 on Thursday in the Greenbrier Classic, leaving the 53-year-old star two strokes behind first-round leader Sebastian Munoz.
In his best round of the season, Love birdied four of his first five holes on the Old White TPC, which was reconstructed after deadly floods forced the cancellation of last year’s tournament.
Love is set to enter the World Golf Hall of Fame in September. His last win came at the 2015 Wyndham Championship, which made him the third-oldest winner in PGA Tour history.
“I’ve been working real hard the last couple of weeks on trying to fix my swing to kind of swing around a stiff back and a stiff hip,” the elder Love said. “I’ve given up on hitting it a long way. I’m just saying I’ve got to hit it straight, and this is the perfect golf course for me to get it in the fairway. A lot of hard work is kind of starting to pay off.”
Munoz, a 24-year-old Colombian, was boosted by five birdies on the back nine for a 61.
Defending champion Danny Lee was at 64 along with David Lingmerth, Ben Martin, rookie Xander Schauffele, Graham DeLaet and Nick Taylor.
Gonzalez Escallon surges late to tie for LPGA lead
Belgian rookie Laura Gonzalez Escallon birdied three of the final four holes Thursday for a seven-under 65 and a share of the lead with Sei Young Kim in the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Oneida, Wis.
Gonzalez Escallon, the 26-year-old former Purdue player who won twice last season on the Symetra Tour, also started fast in the first-year event, making birdies on three of the first four holes.
Kim had eight birdies and a bogey at Thornberry Creek, the Oneida Nation-owned resort near Green Bay. The South Korean player won the Lorena Ochoa Match Play in May in Mexico for her sixth LPGA Tour victory.
Tour rookies Madeleine Sheils and Min-G Kim shot 66.
Rahm in contention at Irish Open
Rising Spanish star Jon Rahm upstaged tournament host Rory McIlroy at the Irish Open by shooting a seven-under 65 to move one stroke off the first-round lead.
Rahm, ranked No. 11, showed impressive form on the links two weeks out from the British Open, rolling in six birdies and an eagle on a low-scoring day at Portstewart. He was tied for third place with Englishmen Matthew Southgate and Oliver Fisher.
Daniel Im of the United States, ranked No. 542, and Benjamin Hebert of France, ranked No. 254, held the lead after shooting bogey-free 64s.
McIlroy, the defending champion and part of a heavyweight group containing Rahm and Hideki Matsuyama, parred his last 11 holes and was even par at a tournament which benefits his own foundation. The No. 2-ranked Matsuyama shot 67.