5 Things: Overton's 64 gives him Frys.com lead
The 2013-14 PGA Tour season began Thursday with the first round of the Frys.com Open at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif.
And it's Jeff Overton who is the first first-round leader of the season after shooting a 7-under 64.
Here are 5 Things you need to know from Thursday's opening-round action:
• • •
1. OVER(TON) NIGHT LEADER: Jeff Overton has had six weeks off since his 2013 PGA Tour season ended with a T-66 finish at the Barclays.
Most of that time off went toward rest – "A little burnt out," Overton said. The last couple weeks went toward improving his game.
Overton returned to his alma mater, Indiana University, to work with his former college coach Mike Mayer at the Hoosiers' short-game facility. Overton also strengthened his grip, something that helped him card a 7-under 64 Thursday at CordeValle.
"One of those days that was just really fun, you really didn't know what to expect after six weeks off, but I came out and hit it as good as I probably have ever hit it," said Overton, who leads Kyle Stanley by two shots heading into Friday's second round.
Overton's round included no bogeys and four birdies on the back nine, including a chip-in birdie at No. 13. He eagled the par-5 ninth hole by making a 21-foot putt. He made two other birdie putts of 25-plus feet.
Overton, who finished 108th in the FedEx Cup standings last season after notching two top-25s in 24 starts, had a good season debut last season. He shot 65 in the opening round of the 2013 Sony Open before ultimately finishing solo eighth.
• • •
2. TOGETHER AGAIN: Staying in the Big Ten. . . .
The last time Luke Guthrie and Scott Langley played alongside each other in a PGA Tour event? Well, it was last season's opener, the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Thursday at CordeValle, the former Illinois teammates were paired in their second straight season opener. Guthrie shot 2-under 69 while Langley finished at even-par 72.
"He got me back today," said Langley, who bested Guthrie by a combined 19 shots in two rounds in Hawaii.
Not only were Guthrie and Langley teammates as Illini, they were also All-Americans and roommates. Guthrie attended Langley's wedding Saturday in Santa Barbara, Calif., as well.
To say they had plenty to talk about would be an understatement, especially considering the current success of their alma mater.
After finishing runner-up at the NCAA Championship last spring, Illinois has won its first two fall events by a combined 58 shots. Its last victory, at the Macdonald Cup, came in record-breaking fashion.
One of the records broken in the event? Langley's 54-hole scoring record.
• • •
3. WAKE-UP CALL: Jhonattan Vegas’ 2013-14 season got off to a rough start on Thursday, and it wasn’t just because he finished with a 5-over 76 in the first round of the Frys.com Open.
Vegas showed up late for his 7:30 a.m. tee time at CordeValle and was assessed a two-stroke penalty. It resulted in a double-bogey six on the first hole.
He proceeded to make four more bogeys, and a birdie in the first round.
The 2008 Texas graduate had shoulder surgery in February and only played in three PGA Tour events during the 2013 season. He was sidelined for six months.
Vegas played the Web.com Tour’s Hotel Fitness Championship, the first of four events for the Web.com Tour Finals, in his first event after surgery. He made his first cut of the year and tied for 43rd. He missed the cut in the Chiquita Classic and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, but finished T-32 in the Web.com Tour Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
• • •
4. ALTERNATE PLAN: Alex Aragon figured he had no chance of getting into the Frys.com Open field as an alternate while he waited at CordeValle Thursday morning.
But then John Merrick withdrew with an injury at 6:45 a.m. local time, opening up a spot for Aragon in Merrick's 7:50 a.m. pairing.
“I’d already come to terms with not being able to play, but I guess I’ll have to send John Merrick a little gift basket," Aragon said.
The gift might get a little nicer, too, after Aragon shot 3-under 68 in the first round.
• • •
5. SHORT SHOTS:Michael Putnam, who won the 2013 Web.com Tour regular-season money title, carded a 4-under 67 on Thursday. The other two players in his group, John Peterson and Chesson Hadley, also fared well last season on the Web.com Tour – Peterson won the Web.com Tour Finals money title while Hadley won the Web.com Tour Championship two weeks ago. Peterson shot 68 Thursday while Hadley recorded a 72. . . . Kyle Stanley's opening-round 5-under 66 Thursday has him in solo third. Stanley finished third twice last season, but also missed six cuts in his last eight PGA Tour events. . . . Making their PGA Tour pro debuts were Justin Thomas and Max Homa. Thomas, who left Alabama after his sophomore season fired a 1-over 72. Thomas was the 2012 College Player of the year. Homa, a recent California graduate, shot a 2-under 69 in his debut. He is the 2013 NCAA Individual champion.
- Golfweek.com Asst. Editor Cassie Stein contributed to this report.