Tway Slocum Share Texas Lead at 61

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Bob Tway rolled in seven straight birdies en route to a 9-under-par 61 Thursday in the first round of the Valero Texas Open. Tway was joined in the lead by Heath Slocum, as the pair matched the course record set by Garrett Willis last year.
 
Aaron Baddeley posted an 8-under-par 62 to grab third place. Rory Sabbatini, Cameron Beckman and Tom Byrum are one stroke further back at minus-7.
 
Tway's round on the Resort Course at LaCantera Golf Club started slowly, but he caught fire around the turn. He dropped in a birdie putt at the par-3 sixth from seven feet out and followed that up with another birdie at the next.
 
'I had a nice shot on the par-3 to get me going,' Tway said. 'The next hole, I hit it very close, just a couple of feet from the hole.'
 
He nearly holed his second shot at the eighth to setup a kick-in birdie, his third straight. Tway made it four straight at the ninth when he drained a 15- footer.
 
The 44-year-old continued his roll on the back nine. He birdied Nos. 11 and 12 to complete his run of seven consecutive birdies around the turn. After a par at the par-3 13th, Tway got rolling again with a birdie at the par-5 14th.
 
However, he dropped a stroke at the next when his tee shot found trees left of the fairway. Tway, who won the Canadian Open in a playoff three weeks ago, came right back to birdie No. 16. He closed out his round with a birdie at the last.
 
'It was a very good day. We had a nice day to play,' said Tway, who played with Scott Verplank and Rory Sabbatini in Thursday's opening round. 'We made a lot of birdies today. I think when a group gets hot together, people feed off each other, because the other guy makes it look easy.'
 
Slocum got off to a flying start. He converted a birdie try at the second to begin a run of three straight birdies. Slocum later notched back-to-back birdies from the sixth to move to 5-under for his opening nine.
 
Around the turn, Slocum moved to 6-under with a birdie at the 11th. He again sank back-to-back birdies and grabbed a share of the lead when he sank a 20-foot birdie putt at the 16th.
 
'I played very well today,' said Slocum. 'I drove my ball well. I hit a lot of good iron shots and my putter was really the hot club in the bag, and I made a lot of putts and felt really good.'
 
Baddeley started on the back nine with a birdie at No. 10. He really caught fire shortly thereafter, as he drained a birdie on the 13th to touch off a streak of five straight birdies.
 
On the front nine, he birdied the first and second to get to 8-under through his first 11 holes. Baddeley settled down from there as he added another birdie and one bogey over his final seven holes.
 
'I got off to a good start. I drove it well today and that was key,' said Baddeley. 'If I can drive it well, then I usually shoot a good score. Down the stretch I would be lying if I didn't think of 59. There was definitely a chance.'
 
Loren Roberts, the defending champion, carded a 6-under-par 64. He shares eighth place with Dan Forsman, John Huston, Duffy Waldorf and Tommy Armour III.
 
J.L. Lewis, who won the 84 Lumber Classic of Pennsylvania last week, heads a group of players at 5-under-par 65.
 
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