A journeyman and a Hokie are atop the leaderboard on day one of the Greenbrier Classic, a day to celebrate the red, white, and blue. The blue was mostly reserved for Phil Mickelson, who continues to struggle in White Sulphur Springs.
John Daly celebrated the Fourth of July with some patriotic pants and while Daly was 5-over par in his first round, two other players gained some independence from the rest of the field.
Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey, who has missed 13 cuts in 22 starts this year, set the pace in the morning wave of players, going low with an 8-under-par 62.
“I've played horrible this year,” Gainey said. “What I've done since I shot 60 last year and won that tournament, the McGladry Classic, I felt like I've put more pressure on myself to play more consistently and to do better. Actually when you put that excess pressure on yourself, it hurts when you are not playing up to that potential. I know what to do now. I'm just trying to have more fun instead of trying to force it.”
Former Virginia Tech Hokie, Johnson Wagner, matched Gainey with a 62 of his own, taking advantage of some soft greens following Wednesday night's rain.
“If you could drive it in the fairway where the ball was in hand,” Wagner said, “the greens were very receptive but you still had to make the putts. There were some high scores out there too. I'm really pleased with the way I played today.”
Wagner found his game a bit on Thursday, after missing 7 consecutive cuts entering this week.
“I've been working really hard,” Wagner said, “struggling as of late but in my career I've been known to turn it around. I've won after missing four or five in a row, so my confidence can come and go very quickly.”
Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson were in the featured group Thursday afternoon, and red numbers were hard to come by for those two. Mickelson struggled to a 4-over-par 74 leaving lots of work on Friday. Watson was much better with a 2-under 68.