CROMWELL, Conn. — Kenny Perry shot a 61 to tie the course record and take a two-shot lead after the first round of the Travelers Championship on Thursday.
Perry, who has finished in the top-10 seven times at this tournament, shot a 29 on the front nine, and had no bogeys. He flirted with a 59, before making par on the final two holes.
"I was looking for that magical number," Perry said. "I thought I could do it today. It was definitely in the back of my head. I was definitely trying to get it done."
More than 100 golfers shot under par, taking advantage of light winds and the soft greens left by the same rains that plagued the U.S. Open.
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Charles Warren and Paul Goydos each shot 7-under par 63s and are tied for second place. They also played bogey-free rounds. Goydos had birdies on three of his final four holes, while Warren putted for birdie 16 times.
"Whoever the superintendent is has done an unbelievable job getting the golf course ready given the amount of rain you've had," Warren said. "So, I think there will be low rounds all week ... I think 59 is a possibility."
Australian Greg Chalmers had eight birdies, six over his final eight holes, and finished tied at 6-under with Spencer Levin, Boo Weekley and Tag Ridings.
"Sometimes on this golf course, you get on a roll," Chalmers said.
Weekley started out on the 10th hole and birdied his first six.
"I wish I could have kept the string going," he said. "We hit a lot of good putts out there and hit a lot of good shots. We just made two mistakes."
Ridings had the shot of the day, acing the par-3, 11th hole. He used a 9-iron from 154 yards out, to give the tournament its first hole-in-one since 2007, when both Craig Perks and Bo Van Pelt accomplished the feat.
"There is not a bit of wind out there," Ridings said. "The greens are firmer than anticipated but they are still soft, so they're really just perfect scoring conditions."
U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover was among nine golfers tied at 5 under.
But the day belonged to Perry, a Kentuckian who has one other 61 in his career, at the 2003 Colonial.
On Thursday, he was 7 under after 10 holes, and said that's when he began the think about a sub-60 round, something that's only been accomplished three times on the PGA Tour.
"I thought, with the eagle holes coming up ... I really felt I had a shot at it," he said.
Perry is making his 21st appearance at the tournament and is a fan favorite. Chants of "Let's go Kenny," greeted him on the back nine, and spectators erupted at the 15th hole when Perry made the 3-foot birdie putt that put him at 9-under par.
Perry is the fifth player to post a 61 at TPC River Highlands, joining Kirk Triplett (2000), Phil Mickelson (2001), Scott Verplank (2001) and Brad Faxon (2005) in the record book.
"It's definitely the best I've played since the Masters," said Perry, who finished second in Augusta in a playoff with champion Angel Cabrera and Chad Campbell. "My iron game has been off. My putting has been pitiful. And so, today, it kind of all came together."