IRVING, Texas — Jeff Overton shot a bogey-free 6-under 64 Thursday to take the first-round lead at the Byron Nelson Championship, a stroke better than Ryan Palmer.
A year after tying for second at TPC Four Seasons, Overton started his back nine with four birdies in a seven-hole stretch. He had his best score in 15 career rounds at the Nelson, even after his 22-foot birdie attempt on the closing hole lipped out.
“It’s nice having confidence because of last year,” Overton said. “I knew I played well. I just wanted to keep things rolling.”
After a par-saving 10-foot par putt at the 220-yard par-3 second hole, Overton had consecutive birdies.
“That broke a lot and I thought I missed it, and it actually went in,” Overton said. “And next thing, I was able to hit a lot of great shots and strike out early. I never had a chance of making bogey from there. ”
Palmer has made the cut only once in his seven previous Nelson appearances. This week, he is letting his caddie call all his shots.
Sergio Garcia, who withdrew from a British Open qualifier this week and didn’t even play a practice round because of an infected fingernail on his left hand, was in a group of nine players at 66.
The infection on Garcia’s ring finger made it difficult to grip a club. His finger was sore a few days ago that he thought he might not even be able to play.
Overton was part of the Ryder Cup team last year when he had three runner-up finishes, among them being part of a three-way tie for second at last year’s Nelson behind Jason Day.
Though he has made the cut in all but one of his previous 13 tournaments this season, Overton has finished better than 20th only once. That was a sixth-place finish at the Honda Classic in March, and he’s had his missed cut and finished no better than 26th since then.
The TPC greens were pelted by hail described as half the size of baseballs during storms Tuesday night. Crews worked on the greens before and after a pro-am Wednesday.
Stephen Ames (71) and Chris Baryla (71), both from Calgary, finished the first round 1 over par.
Matt McQuillan (73) of Kingston, Ont., and David Hearn (73) from Brantford, Ont., each shot 3 over, while Mike Weir (74) of Bright’s Grove, Ont., was 4 over.