Warren JFK’s Jason Kokrak tied for ninth
White sulphur springs, WVa.
Gainey, Wagner start hot at Greenbrier Classic
The mustache is gone, and for one round at least, Johnson Wagner also didn’t have to deal with playing bad golf.
Wagner and Tommy Gainey each shot an 8-under 62 on Thursday to share a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Greenbrier Classic.
Webb Simpson and Jin Park were close behind after 64s. Daniel Summerhays, Tag Ridings, Steven Bowditch and 50-year-old Neal Lancaster were another shot back.
Warren JFK’s Jason Kokrak shot a 66 and is tied for ninth.
Players were able to lift, clean and place their golf balls Thursday after rain fell prior to the start of play.
Gainey and Wagner had bogey-free rounds in the morning.
Wagner was 8 under after 12 holes but finished with six straight pars.
Both could use a good week — Gainey is 125th in season tour winnings, while Wagner ranks 148th.
Wagner doesn’t have a top-10 finish this year and the three-time tour champion hasn’t won since the 2012 Sony Open.
In his last seven tournaments, he’s missed six cuts and withdrew from the Memorial.
“The last couple of months have been really hard,” Wagner said. “I just haven’t been much fun to be around. It’s just been tough. Nobody likes to be bad at what they do, especially golfers.”
A product of Virginia Tech — which is less than two hours from the Old White TPC course — Wagner chipped in for eagle on the par-5 12th, then finished with six straight pars.
“I’ve been disappointed with 76s and 79s the last month, so I’m very happy to be disappointed with a 62 today,” said Wagner, who shaved his well-talked-about mustache in a nod to his wife for their seventh wedding anniversary on Monday.
“I didn’t get her a gift. So I thought maybe surprising her with a clean lip would suffice,” he said.
The mustache will return at some point.
“I love irritating my wife too much to let it go for too long,” he said.
Gainey’s first PGA Tour victory came last fall at the McGladrey Classic, but like Wagner he has missed more cuts than he’s made this year.
Nicknamed “Two Gloves” for wearing gloves on both hands, Gainey had a serious talk with his wife, two other family members and his agent in the past month to try to figure out how to turn around his bad fortunes.
Gainey said he had stopped having fun on the course.
“I had gotten away from that and I’m trying to get back into that now,” he said. “I felt like I knew what was going on. I was putting too much pressure on myself.”
Not Thursday, when he missed just one fairway with a new driver in his bag.
“Hitting out of the rough is no fun,” Gainey said. “Trust me, I’ve been doing it for the past three years.”