GAINESVILLE, Va. – Score another one for the short hitters.
Two weeks after Zach Johnson won the Open at St. Andrews, a course known to favor the long hitters, Justin Leonard made eight birdies and a bogey for a 64 at a soft and long Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, which Charlie Beljan said earlier this week was a "bomber's paradise."
"When I had opportunities to score and make birdies I took advantage of them," Leonard said.
The 1997 Open champion only averages 270 yards off the tee, 10 yards fewer than Johnson, but he was able to go low Thursday on a course that he admits does not suit him.
"It's a little soft and a little long for me, but I seemed to handle it OK today," he said.
The 12-time PGA Tour winner and member of the 2005 U.S. Presidents Cup team that won here hasn't raised a trophy since the 2008 St. Jude, and this season hasn't been a lot of fun as Leonard's missed 14 cuts in 20 events.
"I'm happy to be here on a course I've got some fun memories running around here with a bunch of guys, and it seemed to pay off today," he said.