Gainey, Wagner share Greenbrier Classic lead
White Sulphur Springs, WV (Sports Network) - Tommy Gainey and Johnson Wagner fired matching 8-under 62s on Thursday to grab a share of the lead of the Greenbrier Classic.
Both players are seeking their first win of the season after each notched victories in 2012.
"The golf course is really soaked, it's really soft, and with the players that we have out here, when you have soft greens and the rough is not too penal, I mean, you can really score low out there," Gainey said. "I just was one of the lucky ones to make some putts, hit some fairways, and you know, we all know it's all about making putts out here."
Former U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson shot a 6-under 64 on the Old White TPC Course at the Greenbrier to take a share of third place with Jin Park, while Tag Ridings, Steven Bowditch, Daniel Summerhays and Neal Lancaster occupied fifth at 5-under.
Scott Brown, who earned his first career victory on the PGA Tour at the Puerto Rico Open earlier this year, is among a group of 12 players tied for ninth place at 4-under.
Gainey was the first of the co-leaders to hit the course and he quickly got into red numbers with a 32-foot birdie putt at the first.
He made it two in a row with a 14-footer at the second, and after parring his next five holes, he kickstarted a string of four straight gains at the eighth with consecutive putts from beyond 17 feet.
Gainey later poured in a birdie from off the green at the par-4 16th before adding another lengthy birdie putt at the 17th to reach 8-under. He closed with a par to stay there.
Wagner first got on the board at the par-3 third after hitting his tee shot to within four feet of the pin. He followed that with birdie putts of 19 and 11 feet at the fourth and fifth, respectively, to move to 3-under.
Wagner, who has missed the cut in his last six events to go along with a withdraw at the Memorial, stuck his second shot at the seventh to about three feet of the hole and kicked in that short birdie putt before adding a pair of 7-foot birdie putts at Nos. 9 and 11 to pull with two of the lead.
He then joined Gainey atop the leaderboard by chipping in for eagle from just off the green at the 12th and parred his final six holes to maintain his share of the lead.
"When I made that eagle (at the 12th), I definitely was thinking 59 the rest of the way," said Wagner. "I hit a lot of good shots coming in. I hit a lot of good putts. I think I wanted it a little too bad and they just didn't drop, but it's nice to be disappointed with 62 as opposed to being disappointed with 76s as I have been lately."
Simpson reeled off three straight birdies from the third to make the turn at 3-under before closing his bogey-free round with gains at the 12th, 14th and 15th.
Park countered his lone bogey with seven birdies during his round to meet Simpson in second place.
NOTES: Wagner's 62 set a new career low ... Gainey posted a sub-par, opening- round score for just the 10th time in 23 starts this year ... Phil Mickelson returned to action this week after sitting out the last two tournaments following his sixth career runner-up finish at the U.S. Open and tripped to a 4-over 74 in his opening round. Mickelson has never broken par at this course ... Defending champion Ted Potter, Jr. carded a 1-under 69 on Thursday and sits in a tie for 49th place ... No first-round leader has held on for the win in the three-year history of this event.
07/04 20:15:13 ET