FARRAGUT, Tenn. – Zack Miller posted a 6-under 66 on Thursday to take the opening-round lead of the Knoxville Sentinel Open, but a well-known multiple major champion lurks close behind.
John Daly shot a 5-under 67 and is tied for second place with Kirk Triplett, David Hearn, William McGirt, Justin Peters, Skip Kendall, Andrew Svoboda and Robert Damron.
Daly began on the 10th hole and rattled off three consecutive birdies. He finished off his first nine with two more birdies and a bogey to make the turn at 4 under. Daly eagled the par-5 first hole, but back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 5 and 6 momentarily derailed his round. He birdied the seventh to get to 5 under and stayed there with two closing pars.
'I got off to a good start, which hasn't happened a lot this year,' said Daly, who is playing on a sponsor's exemption. 'I loved the way I managed the course today. It's the type of course that you want to go at the flags any possible chance you can.'
Miller is a tour rookie and in his Nationwide Tour bio he said he'd round out his dream foursome with Charles Barkley, John McEnroe and Daly.
Miller also got off to a big start on Thursday. He eagled the first hole after he hit a 7-iron to the green in two, but only managed one other birdie the rest of his front nine.
'I was a little jittery on the first tee,' Miller said. 'I had a week off and the last hole I played in Springfield I made a nine to miss the cut. To start out two-under through one was a nice cushion.'
Miller kicked off the second nine with two consecutive birdies from the 10th. He parred the par-4 12th, but birdied the par-3 13th to get to 6 under par. He parred his last five to secure the first-round lead.
Daly isn't the only former major champion in the field this week. Rich Beem, the 2002 PGA champion, carded a 2-under 70 and is tied for 34th place.