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Injury-free Piercy ties course record in Houston

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HUMBLE, Texas – As Scott Piercy recounted the highlights of his opening round at the Shell Houston Open, a two-word trend emerged.

“Made that.”

Piercy made nearly everything in sight Thursday, including a run of five straight birdies en route to a 9-under 63 that tied the competitive course record at the Golf Club of Houston.

“Everything went right today,” said Piercy, who missed only one green in regulation.

Piercy is happy to be atop the leaderboard, but he’s happier still to be finally healthy. After playing much of the 2013 season with lingering elbow pain, he had surgery last February and missed most of last season. He began this season on a major medical extension, one that he quickly satisfied with several strong results highlighted by a runner-up finish at the Sony Open.

Those results dried up in recent weeks, though, and Piercy was nearing the end of a marathon practice session earlier this week when he finally had a breakthrough.

“I practiced for like 12, 13 hours on Tuesday, and like in my 13th hour something finally clicked and I figured it out,” he said. “On Wednesday I kind of ingrained it, kept working on it, got it pretty good. And today was awesome, it really was.”

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The extra gear that had been missing while he played through the injury, and the one that he says was still missing while he opened this season with four top-20 finishes in his first six starts, has returned.

“It wasn’t the Scott Piercy that I know I can be,” he said. “Today is like, that’s what I expect. Like I know I can do that. I can go and sort of just overpower a golf course, which I’m not going to say I overpowered it, but I flushed it. I had all my power.”

Piercy has won twice on the PGA Tour, most recently at the 2012 RBC Canadian Open, but he like a majority of this week’s field has not qualified for the Masters. Another win could change that, and would send Piercy down Magnolia Lane for just the second time.

“Everybody wants to be at the Masters, including me,” he said. “It would be really nice if I won, you know. If I’m sitting here on Sunday, then obviously I’ll be super excited. If I play like I did today, I would say there’s a pretty good chance of that.”