Greensboro, NC – Coming off his best finish in a major, Carl Pettersson kept rolling on Thursday. He fired an 8-under 62 to grab a 1-shot lead after the opening round of the Wyndham Championship.
Pettersson tied for third last week at the PGA Championship, and has a win and two runner-up finishes already this year. He has finished in the top five at this event three times in the last five years, including a win in 2008.
Tim Clark, who is rounding back into form after wrist surgery, and David Mathis are one stroke off the lead at minus-7 at Sedgefield Country Club.
Tom Gillis, Troy Matteson and Scott Stalling share fourth place at 6-under 64. Matt Every is alone in seventh at minus-5.
U.S. Open winner and defending champion Webb Simpson headlines a groups of 12 players tied for eighth at 4-under 66.
Simpson started his round with a bogey on the 11th. He went on to card three birdies on his opening nine to make the turn at minus-2. On the front nine, Simpson posted two more birdies to card a 66.
"Great start today. You know, only one bogey on my 2nd hole. Other than that played really solid, and fun to watch somebody shoot 62," said Simpson, who played with Pettersson.
The big fight this week is to get inside the top 125 on the FedExCup points list. Mathis is No. 136 on that list. Three people tied in eighth with Simpson -- Gary Woodland, Richard H. Lee and Arjun Atwal -- are on the outside looking in. Woodland is No. 130, while Lee is No. 164 and Atwal is No. 169.
While they are fighting to get into the top-125, Pettersson is looking to move higher on that points list.
Pettersson entered the week ranked ninth and could go as high as No. 3 with a win.
The North Carolina State alum started on the back nine and birdied the 11th from just inside six feet. He made it two in a row with a 16-footer for birdie at the 12th.
"I started off the round good with two birdies in the first three holes and got me kind of straight back into the score mode from last week," admitted Pettersson. "Sometimes after a great week, you sometimes feel a little bit flat the next week, but I think it helped getting off to such a good start."
Pettersson rolled in a 17-foot birdie chance at 16 and made the turn at minus- four thanks to a birdie on the 18th.
Around the turn, Pettersson parred the first four holes before shooting up the leaderboard. He 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 fifth and followed with a 6- foot birdie effort at six.
Pettersson stuffed his tee shot at the par-3 seventh inside two feet and he kicked that in for birdie. At the eighth, he converted his fourth straight birdie, this time from 10 feet out, to move to minus-8. Pettersson parred the last to end there.
"I think this game is very streaky. We get on a good run, you got to keep going and it seems like when you're playing well you never think you're going to play bad," Pettersson stated. "When you're playing bad, you never think you're going to play well. For sure, I think it is a very streaky game. Once you get on a streak, you got to take advantage of it and, you know, put the pedal down and go for it."
Clark, who was Pettersson's college roommate, also played the back nine first. After a birdie on the 12th, he poured in three straight birdies from the 15th to make the turn at 4-under.
The South African rolled in a 7-footer for eagle on the par-5 fifth. He got within one of the lead when he ran home a 33-foot birdie effort on No. 9, his last.
Mathis had four birdies on the front nine and three more around the turn en route to his 63.
NOTES: Jason Dufner is the only player in the field this week that can move ahead of Tiger Woods in the FedExCup points list...Rod Pampling, who entered the week as No. 125 on the points list, opened with a 68...U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III carded a 3-under 67 in round one.