Love shoots 63, trails leader Munoz by two
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Davis Love III can still get some solid work done in a PGA Tour event.
Heading into the World Golf Hall of Fame in September, the 53-year-old Love shot a 7-under 63 on Thursday in The Greenbrier Classic, leaving him two strokes behind first-round leader Sebastian Munoz.
Love is looking for his first win since the 2015 Wyndham Championship, which made him the third-oldest winner in PGA Tour history. He would be the oldest if he wins in West Virginia.
Slowed this year by a bad back and a broken collarbone sustained in a January snowboarding accident in Sun Valley, Idaho, Love took advantage of a course softened by overnight rain for his best round of the season. He birdied four of his first five holes in the morning round on Old White, the course that was reconstructed after deadly floods forced the cancellation of last year's tournament.
His son, Davis Love IV, also is in the field, receiving a sponsor exemption. It's the second time they are playing the same tournament; the other was the RSM Classic two years ago. The elder Love served as his son's caddie in the U.S. Open last month.
"I've been working real hard the last couple of weeks on trying to fix my swing to kind of swing around a stiff back and a stiff hip," the elder Love said. "I've given up on hitting it a long way. I'm just saying I've got to hit it straight, and this is the perfect golf course for me to get it in the fairway. A lot of hard work is kind of starting to pay off."
Munoz, a 24-year-old Colombian, was boosted by five birdies on the back nine for a 61.
Defending champion Danny Lee was at 64 along with David Lingmerth, Ben Martin, rookie Xander Schauffele, and Canadians Graham DeLaet and Nick Taylor.
Munoz is looking for his first top 10. His best finish is a tie for 27th at the Texas Open.
The PGA Tour rookie was 6 under through 10 holes. He missed a short birdie putt on the par-5 12th and bogeyed the par-4 13th after his approach shot found the greenside rough. He then took charge with birdies on the next four holes.
He said he didn't feel comfortable putting during practice Wednesday, so a friend helped him with some tips on tracking the ball instead of the motion of his putter.
"Things kind of clicked," Munoz said. "It was a good surprise."
Phil Mickelson shot 67 in his first tournament since parting ways with his caddie of 25 years, Jim "Bones" Mackay. Mickelson's brother, Tim Mickelson, is his caddie for the rest of the year.
LPGA: At Oneida, Wis., Belgian rookie Laura Gonzalez Escallon birdied three of the final four holes for a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with Sei Young Kim in the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic.
Gonzalez Escallon, the 26-year-old former Purdue player who won twice last season on the Symetra Tour, also started fast in the first-year event, making birdies on three of the first four holes.
Kim had eight birdies and a bogey at Thornberry Creek, the Oneida Nation-owned resort near Green Bay. The South Korean player won the Lorena Ochoa Match Play in May in Mexico for her sixth LPGA Tour victory.
Tour rookies Madeleine Sheils and Min-G Kim shot 66. Sheils birdied four of the last seven holes.
Fifth-ranked In Gee Chun and Moriya Jutanugarn topped the group at 67. Jutanugarn had seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch, then played the final eight in 2 over with bogeys on Nos. 11 and 17.