Date: June 26, 2009
Author: PA Sport

Chalmers nicely placed in Connecticut

Kenny Perry shot a course record-equalling 61 at TPC River Highlands to take the lead in the Travelers Championship at the end of the first round in Connecticut but Aussie Greg Chalmers is not far behind. Perry had his sights set on becoming the fourth player in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59 after making the turn in 29 on a short, 6,841-yard course softened by the relentless rain in the US north-east and with little wind in Cromwell. Hopes of matching Al Geiberger in 1977, Chip Beck in 1991 and David Duval 10 years ago grew weaker when Perry missed a short birdie putt on the par-three 16th and needing a birdie, birdie finish to get to 59 he had to settle for par on both the closing two holes. Despite a nine-birdie, no-bogey round that needed only 25 putts, Perry was left a little disappointed with having become the fifth person to shoot a 61 at TPC River Highlands. “It&aposs good I guess, but it&aposs only Thursday,” Perry said. “That&aposs not my ultimate goal.” “It was an easy round, very relaxed. I hit it where I needed to hit it on every hole, didn&apost hit it in the rough anywhere, my iron game was really sharp.” “I felt like my game was coming, I knew I didn&apost play very well last week (at the US Open) in the rain and poor conditions and I felt like my game was changing. I hit some real quality iron shots.” “It was just a great start, a nice, fun almost magical round. I was hoping to get that number.” The benign conditions made it a day of low scoring and Perry&aposs nine-under lead was kept at two shots by 63s from fellow Americans Paul Goydos and Charles Warren, with Perry&aposs Ryder Cup Valhalla team-mate Boo Weekley, Tag Ridings – who aced the 155-yard par-three 11th, Spencer Levin and Chalmers lying a further shot back on six-under. US Open champion Lucas Glover and Bethpage Black joint runner-up Ricky Barnes along with Australian Mathew Goggin were among the nine players shooting five-under 65s with 20 players including Vijay Singh of Fiji and US Ryder Cuppers Hunter Mahan and Anthony Kim on four-under. World No.4 Sergio Garcia, the highest ranked player in the field, Sweden&aposs Jesper Parnevik, England&aposs Greg Owen and Aussie Peter Lonard finished the day with 67s. Another Englishman, Justin Rose, and Swede Fredrik Jacobsen were among those shooting 68s while Londoner Brian Davis was at level par following his 70. While the US heroes from Valhalla enjoyed a good day in Connecticut, their captain from last last September&aposs victory over Europe Paul Azinger had a far less satisfying day. After shooting a 68, Azinger was disqualified for playing a non-conforming ball. Meanwhile on the European Tour, Retief Goosen was left wishing he had changed putters a week ago after he rolled in eight birdies to take the first-round lead at the BMW International Open in Munich. “It would have been nice to make them at the US Open – I holed nothing there,” said the 40-year-old South African after a 64 put him two in front of England&aposs Richard Finch. Goosen, 16th at Bethpage Black on Monday, added: “I tested a new putter in the pro-am here and it felt sort of good, so I decided to give it a try.” The twice US Open champion is seeking his first European Tour victory for more than two years, but in the past eight months has tasted victory in Asia, Africa and America. Aussie Marcus Fraser made a solid start with an opening five-under 67 to be tied for third, while Matthew Millar is three-under.