Kenny Perry Blisters TPC River Highlands

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2009

CROMWELL, CT - JUNE 25:  Kenny Perry smiles during round one of the 2009 Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on June 25, 2009 in Cromwell, Connecticut. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Cromwell, CT - Scoring conditions could not have been better today at TPC River Highlands.  

There was virtually no wind to speak of and the greens were extremely receptive due to the significant amount of rain that has fallen in the area over the past month.

Give touring pros a relatively short golf course with perfect scoring conditions, and we all know how that’s going to turn out.

100 players in the field shot better than par today.

Paul Goydos set the pace early with a seven-under-par round of 63, only to be surpassed later on in the afternoon by Kenny Perry’s 61.

After a somewhat shaky start, Goydos settled down and played near flawless golf for the rest of his round.

“I'm feeling quite fortunate,” Goydos said after his round. 

“I kind of made, the first hole I kind of made a mess of it, and kind of funky line on the fairway and laid the sod over the seven-iron. And laid it 50 yards short of the green, and pitched the 10 pin and made it for par.  Two, I drove it last, and hit a squirrely line in the rough. And hit a poor wedge shot that went through the three, and got in the front bunker in a bad spot, and kind of chunked it out 15 feet and made that for par.  Then, after, in a sense, those things tend to calm you down. Hey, you hit two by two the worst holes of the year, and you're at even par. Just calm down and make good swings,” said Goydos.

Goydos went on to make seven birdies and not a single bogey over his next 16 holes.

Goydos was the clubhouse leader at a little after 12:30 p.m., but, then Kenny Perry teed off at 12:52 and completely blistered TPC River Highlands.

Perry shot a 29 on the front nine and birdied seven out of his first 10 holes.

“Well, I think I only had like seven putts on the front nine which is unusual for me to get the day off going," Perry said after his round. "But really the saving of the round was the second hole. I hooked the tee shot into the left bunker, was dead. Chipped out sideways, knocked it on and made a 20-footer for par, which really gave me a little momentum. And then I went on.  I putted it in from off the green on three. And then I made a beautiful putt on four. I mean, these were long putts. They weren't even short putts. So, then I kind of got into the round. Got some momentum, and got energized a little bit. And next thing you know, I shoot 29 on the front nine, and birdie the 10th hole."

As Perry made his way around the back nine, he had a very real chance of posting that magical, highly elusive 59.

After birdying the 10th hole to go to seven-under-par, Perry missed an eight foot birdie putt on the par-three 11th.

Perry drove the 294 yard par-four 15th but was unable to sink his 19-foot eagle putt.

On the par-three 16th, Perry once again had a good look at birdie but his eight foot putt barely slipped by the hole.

“I was looking for that magical number. I thought I could do it today. And it was definitely in the back of my head. I was definitely trying to get it done. But I'm very happy with the round. I mean, whenever you can birdie half the holes, it's pretty amazing,” Perry said.

Perry’s 61 set a new first round scoring record at the Travelers Championship and tied for the lowest tournament round ever at TPC River Highlands.

Perry has held at least a share of the 18-hole lead 12 times during his career but has only gone on to win one of those tournaments (1995 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic).

That being said, Kenny Perry might very well be a better golfer right now at the age of 48 than at any other point during his career.