Matt Every surged into an early lead at the Wyndham Championship on Thursday, firing a nine-under-par 61 to launch his bid for only the third win of his career.
The journeyman world number 751 carded seven birdies and an eagle to move clear in the clubhouse at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“I’m driving it way better,” Every said. “The last couple years, a lot of people would have quit the game in my position with what has kind of crept into my game.”
The 33-year old Every leads by one shot on Swede Henrik Stenson through the first round in humid conditions at Sedgefield Country Club.
Stenson, of Gothenburg, made a late-day charge to post 62, marking his best round on the PGA Tour.
Webb Simpson, Vaughn Taylor, Cameron Smith, Tim Wilkinson, Brian Campbell, Harold Varner and Sam Saunders all posted 63s.
Every opened his round with a superb eagle on the par-four first, holing a 105-yard wedge from the fairway for a brilliant eagle.
A trio of birdies on the third, fourth and fifth holes was followed by another birdie on the par-three seventh to leave Every six under at the turn.
Two more birdies in the closing four holes left Every at nine under to complete a stunning round.
Every, a back-to-back winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2014 and 2015, has been in a funk in recent seasons, failing to reach a major since 2015.
“So it’s good to be back, playing good. I’ve got a few things to motivate me right now and I want to play well again.
“Today was really solid. I’m excited for the rest of the week. But it’s only one round. I know that.”
Every didn’t qualify for the PGA Championship last week, something that irked him as he watched on television from home.
“I don’t go to bed at night saying there’s 144 guys better than me that (played in the PGA Championship),” Every said. “I can’t do that. That’s kind of a way I might motivate myself a little bit. Just little tricks I play on myself.”
Every made the cut in only two of his last half dozen tournaments, though he tied for 14th last month in the Canadian Open.
“It’s one round,” he said. “I know that. I know that if I keep playing well, I’ll be all right.”
Leading first round scores
61 — Matt Every (USA)
62 — Henrik Stenson (SWE)
63 — Cameron Smith (AUS), Vaughn Taylor (USA), Webb Simpson (USA), Tim Wilkinson (NZL), Brian Campbell (USA), Harold Varner (USA), Sam Saunders (USA)
64 — Davis Love (USA), Rick Lamb (USA), Martin Flores (USA)
65 — Lucas Glover (USA), Rory Sabbatini (RSA), Mark Wilson (USA), Anirban Lahiri (IND), Hunter Mahan (USA)
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