Matt Bettencourt and Peter Tomasula set the pace for the field with a five-under 67 at the Valero Texas Open as the PGA Tour makes its final stop before next week's Masters.
There was a breeze at the par-72 TPC San Antonio course and it was cold for the morning group, but conditions improved as the day advanced. This all set up for a tightly packed leaderboard.
Take a look at that leaderboard, and then we'll recap the round.
First Round Leaderboard—2013 Valero Texas Open
|T7. ||Daniel Summerhays||-3|
|T7. ||Jim Furyk||-3|
|T7. ||Nathan Green||-3|
|T7. ||Andres Romero||-3|
|T7. ||Jeff Overton||-3|
*View the full leaderboard on PGA.com.
Bettencourt, who is playing in just his third PGA event of the year, teed off in the afternoon, and he was nearly flawless. He suffered just one over-par hole on the day to go with his six birdies.
He did the most damage with his putter as he finished his round with an impressive 3.4 strokes gained putting.
While it would be nice to see him hold onto the lead, it would also be surprising.
He does have one career Tour win, but he had just one top-10 finish in his 31 Tour events last year, and in his two events this year, he missed the cut and finished 24th.
However, as Richard Oliver of My San Antonio notes, Bettencourt suffers from severe asthma, and he recently switched to a new medication that does not make him jittery. That certainly showed in his putting.
Meanwhile, Peter Tomasulo is just hoping to secure his Tour card. He can go a long way towards accomplishing that with this kind of play. Tomasula fired the day's only bogey-free round.
This excellent round, in more favorable conditions, allowed the co-leaders to catch and pass the early leaders. Padraig Harrington and Billy Horschel both teed off in the morning and set the pace with a four-under 68.
For Horschel, this is the continuation of his hot hand as he finished second at last week's Houston Open. Horschel hit just 7-of-14 fairways on the day, but he made up for that by earning a 2.1 mark in strokes gained putting.
Meanwhile, a lot of eyes were fixed on world No. 2 Rory McIlroy as he scrambles to try and get his game ready for the Masters.
After beginning his day on No. 10, Rory looked sharp early, and a birdie on No. 17 moved him to two-under.
However, that promising start quickly faded as he splashed down on the par-five 18th and wound up with a bogey. He then bogeyed the two proceeding holes.
The good news for Rory is, just like his hot streaks, his cold stretches don't last for long. He birdied the fifth, and followed it up with a birdie on six, which was made possible in large part to this 115-yard approach shot:
McIlroy needed to make just a 7' putt on his last hole to finish the day one-under, but he missed and had to settle with an even-par opening round.
Meanwhile, McIlroy's playing partner for the day Jordan Spieth, 19, is storming his way onto the PGA Tour, and he was flashing his prodigious talent in the opening round here.
However, it came in the midst of a wildly inconsistent round. Spieth had three birdies and two bogeys on his first nine. He then fired three consecutive birdies to begin his second nine, which was highlighted by this marvelous tee shot on the par-three third hole:
That birdie moved Spieth to four-under par, which is where he stayed until hole No. 8. Spieth found some trouble and wound up with a triple bogey. After a par on his final hole, he finished the round at one-under.
This tournament may not feature the biggest names, but we have a bunch of hungry golfers playing well and looking to cash in.
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