Defending Champion Toms Opens Strong


Looking to follow in the recent footsteps of Justin Leonard, David Toms fired an opening-round 64 at the Kingsmill Golf Club to take the first-round lead of the Michelob Championship.
Toms, the events defending champion, is hoping to take a page out of Leonards book from last weeks tournament at the Texas Open, when the hometown native won for the second consecutive year.
While Toms missed the cut, he must have been taking notes.
The Louisiana native came out smoking Friday, requiring only 22 putts and carding nine birdies against just two bogies over the course in historic Williamsburg, Va.
He leads by one stroke over five others, including Shigeki Maruyama and Neal Lancaster, and by two over four others, including first-year player Bryce Molder.
While Toms has only played in two events since his career-changing victory at the PGA Championship in August, he seems to be picking up right where he left off.
Starting on the back nine first, the 34-year-old six-time winner on the PGA Tour bogeyed his first hole of the day (No. 10), but crammed in five birdies over his next seven holes to get into negative-territory.
Making the turn at 4-under, he continued to blitz the course, canning four more red numbers, before a bogey-five derailed him at the par-4 8th.
As it was, his 64 marked his lowest score since his win in Mays Compaq Classic of New Orleans.
'I can't remember the last time I did anything like that,' said Toms of his incredibly low number of putts for the day.
While Toms has found great success in recent years on the PGA Tour, Maruyama recently won his first event on the circuit at the Greater Milwaukee Open.
Like Toms, the Japanese star also looks to be on top of his game, making seven birdies to offset a single blemish on his card Friday.
Also in good standing entering the second day is recently-turned professional Molder.
Molder, a collegiate standout at Georgia Tech, is competing in just his fifth event since turning pro.
While he has missed the cut in the last three events which he has competed, the 22-year-old has already shown great promise, finishing third in his first event as a pro, the Reno Tahoe Open in late-August.
On Friday, he had it to 7-under on the day with just two holes left and might have ended on top with Toms, but slipped with back-to-back bogies over his final two holes, the par-4 8th and 9th.
Meanwhile, playing in his first event as a pro this week, 17-year-old Ty Tryon bogied his first hole of the day and never recovered, shooting 76.
Click Here for Full-Field Scores from the Michelob Championship at Kingsmill.