Memphis, TN – Davis Love III carded a 4-under 66 on Thursday to grab a share of the lead after the first round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Love was joined atop a crowded leaderboard by Stuart Appleby, Glen Day, Nathan Green, Martin Flores and Harris English. With the U.S. Open next week, the biggest note of the six leaders is that not one is qualified for the season's second major.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson headlines a group of 11 players that are one stroke off the lead at minus-3. Johnson stands alongside David Toms, Nicholas Thompson, Jason Bohn, Tim Petrovic, John Rollins, Peter Hanson, Justin Hicks, Scott Stallings, Shawn Stefani and Paul Haley II.
Nine more players are two strokes behind the leaders at 2-under 68 at the TPC at Southwind.
Love, who shared third place last year, got his round going with birdies at the first and fourth. He stumbled to a bogey at the fifth. Love jumped to minus-4 as he birdied three of four holes from the eighth.
The 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup captain stumbled to bogeys at the 12th and 14th. Love jumped back into a share of the lead as he birdied two of the last three holes.
"It was a good day. It was a good day for our whole group," said Love, who played alongside Johnson and Brandt Snedeker (70). "It was nice to make some birdies in the afternoon. Now we turned around in the morning and we should have better conditions to score."
Appleby had one birdie through eight holes. He converted back-to-back birdie chances at nine and 10. After stumbling to a bogey at the 13th, the Australian bounced back with birdies at 16 and 17 to end at minus-4.
Day, who is making his second PGA Tour start of the season, birdied two of the first three holes. After eight consecutive pars, he stumbled to a bogey at the par-4 12th. The 47-year-old birdied three of the last five holes to grab a piece of the lead.
Green had eight pars and a single birdie through nine holes. He birdied the 10th and 13th to move within one of the lead. The Australian grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie on the par-5 16th.
"It's definitely good to come out and play good some weeks, but I don't think I take the bad rounds as badly as I used to, and I think probably a little more calmer on the golf course, which is probably helping in some respects," Green stated.
Flores, who has one top-10 finish in 15 tour starts this season, tripped to a bogey at the second, but came right back with three consecutive birdies from the third.
Starting at the ninth, he carded three birdies in the next five holes to jump to 5-under. Flores faltered to a double-bogey at the par-3 14th, but he came back with a birdie at the 16th.
"I had been hitting my irons very well and I've been putting very well. I figured just give myself a fairway shot and see if I can't get it up and down," Flores said of the 18th, where he saved par from a tough lie. "It's a tough hole already. Par is a good score on that hole, and to make a mistake like that, save it with a par is a bonus."
English was the only leader that started on the back nine. He picked up a birdie at the 10th. English followed a birdied at the 15th with an eagle on the par-5 16th.
The 23-year-old tripped to a bogey at the 18th. English bounced back with a birdie at the first. He again traded a birdie for a bogey from the fourth. English parred the final four holes to end at minus-4.
Phil Mickelson dropped four shots in a 3-hole span on the back nine, but birdied three in a row from the first. He opened with a 1-over 71, which left him tied for 78th.
NOTES: Green's bogey-free round was the only one of the day ... Paul Goydos is making his first start in over 15 months after being sidelined after two separate surgeries to remove bone spurs in his left wrist and index finger. He stumbled to a 3-over 73 and is tied for 116th.