FORT WORTH, Texas -- It was a case of hometown boy makes good when John Peterson rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on his final hole to complete a 6-under 64 late Thursday afternoon in the first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
The birdie produced whoops and hollers from Peterson’s gallery.
“I’ve got some crazy friends out here," said Peterson, a Fort Worth native and a high school golf star at R.L. Paschal High School. “Coming off the green, Aaron Baddeley asked me if it was for birdie or for eagle."
The 24-year-old LSU product is in a four-way tie for third.
Peterson made five birdies on the back nine for what he believes is the lowest score he’s ever had at Colonial. He remembers a 65 he shot in high school.
His only slip-up was a bogey at the par-5 No. 11, considered one of the easiest holes. He responded with birdies on the next two holes.
“I was nervous on the first hole today, more than at the Masters," Peterson said. “I don’t know why. But I hit a good shot and was fine."
Long-putter success: Carl Pettersson and his anchored long-putter stroke clicked for six birdie putts of 9 feet or longer on the way to a 4-under 66 in Thursday’s opening round.
The Swede, now a resident of Raleigh, N.C., got it to 6 under through 13 holes before a bad drive on the par-4 No. 14 led to a double-bogey.
On Tuesday, when the decision by the USGA and The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews came down against the anchoring stroke, Pettersson declined to comment. After his round on Thursday and with a couple of days to reflect, Petterssen said he was disappointed in the decision because it hurts a person like himself, who has been using the stroke for 16 years.
Said Pettersson: “They’ve got to do what they got to do. But I don’t agree with the decision. I hope the PGA Tour takes the stand that they’ve already said they are going to. I hope [PGA Tour commissioner Tim] Finchem stays firm on that, and we will see what happens."
Tim Clark, another tour veteran who uses the long putter, opened with a 3-under 67.
Return of two gloves: It has been a bit of a struggle for Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey, surviving only six cuts in 17 starts this year. He ranks 127th in official money with $313,071. But on Thursday, Gainey found his game, making six birdies for a 5-under 65. He’s part of a six-way tie for seventh.
A year ago, the 37-year-old South Carolina native came to Colonial with an even poorer track record. Battling elbow and wrist injuries, Gainey had missed all but three cuts when he got to Fort Worth. And he had no course success to fall back on, having missed the cut in his only previous appearance.
But something clicked. Gainey opened with a 66 and followed it up with 67s in the second and fourth rounds to finish third at 7 under. He cashed a check for $435,200 and went on to win the McGladrey Classic in the fall.
“I really love this golf course," Gainey said. "'Like' is not really good enough. Something about it just fits my eye. And I feel very comfortable after finishing third last year. Just a lot of good momentum and good mojo around this course."
Colleyville connection: Tournament leader Ryan Palmer and John Rollins, in second place, live about a mile apart in Colleyville. Both are Colonial members.
Palmer joked that the fiercely competitive afternoon game at the club helped him carve out a tournament-leading 8-under 62 in the opening round.
“These old men here make me grind," Palmer said. “I’ve got to give them so many shots. Maybe that helps."
Palmer said he plays two to three rounds a week at the course in the winter and one or two in an off week.
“I have so much fun with these guys. I’m proud to be a member of this club."
Rollins, who opened with a 7-under 63, doesn’t play Colonial as much as Palmer.
“I will come over here every now and then if they get a group of guys together or something, but I don’t play as much as [Palmer] does over here.
“It would be fun," added Rollins, “if we could fast-forward this to Sunday, one shot apart in the final group."
Remembering tornado victims: Oklahoma State product Morgan Hoffmann said he will be making a donation of an undisclosed amount to the Oklahoma Red Cross for every birdie he makes this week.
“I’ve got some more motivation behind my round," Hoffmann said.
On Thursday, Hoffmann made six birdies and shot a 6-under 64, which places him in a three-way tie for third.
Notes: Dallas 19-year-old Jordan Spieth is tied for seventh after an opening 5-under 65. Pat Perez withdrew after seven holes, citing a shoulder strain. He was 2 over at the time. Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial is one of just three stroke-play events on the Tour where Davis Love III has yet to win after making at least 20 starts. Love appears on the way to missing the cut at Colonial for the fifth straight time after an opening-round 76. John Daly’s downfall in an opening-round 2-over 72 was a triple-bogey 7 at No. 3. Daly needed two chip shots from 38 yards to reach the green, and then three putts from 8 feet to find the hole.