Matt Weibring and Bob Burns are tied for second at 5-under-par 65, followed by Ryder Cupper Fred Funk, Jerry Kelly, who missed out on his first berth on the American team, David Peoples, Craig Bowden and Jason Dufner, who are knotted at minus-4.
Pavin got off to an amazing start on Thursday. At the par-4 second hole, Pavin used a 3-wood off the tee, then hit a wedge 12 feet short and right of the hole. His ball rolled into the cup for the unlikely eagle 2.
'I think it went in pretty casually, I don't think it slammed in' said Pavin. 'The people that were up there started to cheer it on and it went in. I just saw it bounce.'
Pavin, the 1995 U.S. Open winner, kept the strong play going. He knocked a 6-iron to 3 feet to set up birdie at the fourth, then holed a 12-footer for birdie at six. Pavin made it two in a row with a 10-footer at the seventh.
At the 11th, Pavin ran home a 12-foot birdie putt, but trouble loomed at the next hole. Pavin drove it in the right rough and came up 20 yards short of the putting surface. He chipped it 10 feet from the hole, but missed the putt for his first bogey.
Pavin wasted little time in recovering from the mishap at 12. He reached the green in two at 13 and nearly holed the eagle putt. The ball missed the right edge, but Pavin tapped in for birdie. He collected his second birdie in a row at the 14th when a 4-iron approach stopped 10 feet from the hole.
Pavin closed his round in style at 18. He popped up his drive and missed the green with his 4-iron second. Pavin chipped in for birdie from 45 feet to match his lowest round on the PGA Tour.
'It was a nice day today,' said Pavin, who also shot a 62 in the third round of the 1990 Texas Open. 'Today was a day that everything seemed to come together.'
Pavin has fallen on hard times since he captured his first major title. He won only one other time since his triumph at Shinnecock, the 1996 Colonial, but this year Pavin has made 13 of 17 cuts. Unfortunately, only once has a made cut translated into a top-10 finish, a tie for 10th at Pebble Beach.
'I'd like to keep improving,' said Pavin. 'My iron game has been a lot better the last month and that's been a big improvement. My goal is to play the best I can, play up to my potential.'
Weibring, whose father Champions Tour player D.A. Weibring won in 1996, had an up-and-down round on Thursday. He drained a pair of 5-foot birdie putts at two and three, but three-putted for bogey at No. 4 at TPC at River Highlands.
He collected a tap-in birdie at the ninth, but drove into the trees at 10 and left with bogey. Weibring rattled off three birdies in a row from the 11th, all from inside 10 feet, then made a 15-foot birdie putt at the 15th to get into second place.
'I've been feeling pretty good with my game,' said Weibring. 'I went out there and I hit really great shots on the first hole, hit two perfect shots and made a good par. I've been on the edge of shooting some really good, low scores, so it kind of happened at a good place.'
Burns' putting gave him his flawless round on Thursday. He tallied five birdies with the closest coming from 7 feet at the ninth, his final hole of the round.
'I didn't do anything terrible and I recovered from the few fairways that I missed,' said Burns. 'I guess I missed four or five greens today and I got all of them up-and-down, so I had a pretty nice, well rounded day to go bogeyless and make five birdies.'
Nick Price, Loren Roberts, Zach Johnson, Tag Ridings, Matt Gogel, Tim Wilkinson and former U.S. Open champion Scott Simpson are tied for ninth at 3-under-par 67.