Amid chilly conditions deep in the heart of Texas, two relatively unknown players were able to separate themselves from a field that largely struggled Thursday at TPC San Antonio. Here's the skinny heading into the second round of the Valero Texas Open, where Matt Bettencourt and Peter Tomasulo sit atop the leaderboard:
What it means: Many expected the AT&T Oaks Course to play more easily with an earlier date this year, but the first round still saw plenty of high scores Thursday. Harrington and Horschel set the pace among the morning wave, but they were eclipsed by late surges from Bettencourt and Tomasulo.
Round of the day: One of the last players to finish his round Thursday, Tomasulo birdied each of his final two holes to grab a share of the lead. Despite hitting only 13 of 18 greens in regulation, Tomasulo made it around TPC San Antonio without a single bogey, still in search of his first career top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.
Best of the rest: Beginning with birdies on three of his first five holes, Bettencourt got off to a hot start in the afternoon wave Thursday. He rose up the leaderboard with consecutive birdies on 12 and 13, then grabbed sole possession of the lead with a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 17. After a par on the home hole, Bettencourt completed the co-low round of the day that included just one bogey.
Biggest disappointment: Playing alongside Rory McIlroy (72) and Jordan Spieth (71), Matt Kuchar dealt with some unexpected struggles in the opening round. Mustering just one birdie, Kuchar stumbled to a 2-over 74 Thursday and will begin the second round seven shots off the pace, now in danger of missing the 36-hole cut.
Main storyline heading into Friday: Having been mired in obscurity on both the PGA and Web.com tours recently, can Bettencourt and Tomasulo build upon Thursday's momentum? The leaderboard remains crowded after one round, with high-caliber players like Jim Furyk and Ian Poulter looming just a couple strokes off the pace.
Shot of the day: Though he struggled the rest of his round, Shawn Stefani had quite the adventure at the par-5 18th. After driving in the fairway, he appeared to catch a terrible break when his second shot struck a sprinkler head in the middle of the fairway and catapaulted into an adjacent water hazard. The ball stayed up in the hazard, though, allowing Stefani to gouge it out from a muddy lie while standing on nearby rocks. The shot from just under 60 yards landed 10 feet from the hole, and Stefani went on to save par to close out an opening 78.
Quote of the day: 'It really didn't hit me that I was still good at this game until I absolutely just hit it like a 14 handicap.' – Gore, making just his second PGA Tour start of the year.