The Norman Transcript

Sports

October 11, 2013

Strong start to new season for Overton

SAN MARTIN, Calif. — Coming off his worst year, Jeff Overton opened the new PGA Tour season on a good note.

Once he finally made a putt Thursday in the Frys.com Open, Overton felt as if he couldn’t miss. Over the last 11 holes at CordeValle, he made three birdie putts over 25 feet and a 20-foot eagle putt when his gamble paid off on the par-5 ninth.

He finished with a tap-in birdie on the 18th for a 7-under 64 and a two-shot lead over the early starters.

“It really helps if you can get off to a good start,” Overton said. “It would be great if we can continue this thing and keep it rolling.”

Kyle Stanley had a 66. Michael Putnam, who won the Web.com Tour money title last season to earn full status, was among those at 67. John Peterson was challenging for the lead until finishing with two bogeys for a 68.

The PGA Tour season is starting in October instead of January for the first time in history. The official season ends next September at the Tour Championship, although there will be a six-week break leading to the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Officially, it was the start of the 2013-14 season Thursday. It was different from previous “season openers” in Kapalua.

The temperature was struggling to climb past 50 degrees when Bryce Molder, wearing rain pants to cope with the morning chill, hit the first shot of the year. He yanked it left and nearly couldn’t find it, which would have meant going back to the tee to his third short.

The fairways weren’t 80 yards wide. And it wasn’t a tropical 80 degrees.

Jhonattan Vegas felt even worse.

He was on the putting green, in the third group, when he had to use the bathroom. He thought he had plenty of time. He was wrong. Vegas was a few seconds later to the tee box, meaning a two-shot penalty. His first swing of the new season technically was for birdie from 412 yards away. He made par, plus two shots for a double bogey.

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