GREG CHALMERS was leading the 2014 Quicken Loans National at the Congressional Golf Club after the first round and cited a new golf driver as one of the reasons.
The 40-year-old Western Australian shot a 5-under 66 to lead the field, which includes Tiger Woods back after a three month injury layoff.
Chalmers birdied the final three holes and had just 25 putts but with only one top ten previously this season, was very happy with the improvement in his driving.
“I put a new 915 Titleist driver in this week and I think I hit every fairway on the first nine, and I hit all but two on the second nine and one was by a couple of feet,” he said. “I really drove the ball the best I have all year. That was kind of exciting. That set up the rest of the round.”
Chalmers had a one shot lead over Ricky Barnes and Freddie Jacobson with defending champion Bill Haas, Patrick Reed, U.S. Open runner-up Erik Compton and Tyrone Van Aswegen a further stroke back on 4-under.
Tiger Woods was back after his back surgery and opened with two straight bogeys, made five more bogeys in a seven-hole stretch around the turn at the tough Congressional layout and finally found some form late to close with a 3-over 74.
He was happy with the way his back held up (“I had no issues at all — no twinges, no nothing. It felt fantastic”) but was obviously a little rusty.
“I made so many little mistakes,” Woods said. “So I played a lot better than the score indicated.”
Besides Chalmers, other Aussies doing well included Stuart Appleby, Geoff Ogilvy, Marc Leishman and rookie professional Oliver Goss, who all broke par.
Jason Day (73) played in the feature grouping with Woods and Jordan Spieth (74), who all struggled to score at times and will be hoping to improve.
“We were all kind of looking to break 80,” Woods joked. “It was a bit of a fight today for all of us, but we all hung in there.”Quicken Loans National Leaderboard