It all came together for Tim Petrovic.
The American birdied his final three holes, and four of his last five, to card a round of 8-under 62 and take the opening-round lead at the Shaw Charity Classic on Friday.
Starting on the back nine of the par-70, 7,061-yard Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club course, Petrovic birdied the 17th hole and eagled the 18th to start an incredible run that saw him go 8 under through his final 11 holes of the day.
“I’ve been having some good practice sessions and I think it was just a matter of me just putting it all together on the golf course,” said Petrovic, whose best finish this season was a tie for fourth at the Principal Charity Classic in July. “I just made a little adjustment with my putting yesterday and kind of felt good over it this morning.”
His score was just one off the course record of 61, which has been posted three times in the 11-year history of the PGA Tour Champions tournament.
The 57-year-old Petrovic enjoyed overcast and calm conditions for the majority of his round before the wind picked up and light rains started when he was putting on the seventh hole.
“I wasn’t sure what time it was coming in,” said Petrovic, who was happy to have one of the earliest tee times of the day. “I knew it was coming in, but it was so nice early, I just enjoyed it while we could. We got 15 holes in without any of this (inclement weather), so I was happy.”
Petrovic, from Austin, Texas, proceeded to drain a birdie putt before doing the same on the eighth and ninth greens to finish his round in fine fashion.
Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., finished as the top Canadian in a five-way tie for eighth spot at 3-under 67.
After struggling with two bogeys on the front nine, the 53-year-old Canadian Golf Hall of Famer rolled in four birdie putts in his final eight holes.
“I got on a nice little run of holes there,” said Weir, who’s playing at his home-country event for the third straight year. “The back nine was nice. I didn’t play poorly on the front nine.
“I missed a couple opportunities. I three-putted once and missed another short putt on No. 9, but I just told myself, `I’m playing fine. I’ve just got to stay patient and (there’s) lots of golf left.”'
As for the change in weather conditions, Weir said it definitely played a factor.
“That was brutal,” he said. “The club slipped right out of my hands on the 15th hole. It was playing extremely hard there for about 45 minutes.”
However, Weir was appreciative of the support from fans who braved the inclement conditions.
“They were awesome,” he said. “I saw some shorts and t-shirts out there. When the weather came in, I was freezing with a shirt, sweater and rain jacket on, so Canadian hardiness, I guess, out there.”
American Harrison Frazar was atop the leaderboard for most of the day until Petrovic passed him.
Frazar had a hot start to the three-round, 54-hole event by birdying four of his first five holes. After bogeying the seventh hole, the 52-year-old Dallas, Texas native rolled in three more birdie putts on his back nine to finish the day in second at 6-under 64.
“We got very fortunate,” Frazer said of playing most of his round before the wind and rain became a factor. “We played 16 holes before we felt a drop. The temperature started to drop there about 15, so yeah, we got really lucky.”
Frazar was also happy with starting his round earlier in the morning, while other golfers had to play most of their back nines in the rain.
“Nobody wants to go early if it’s really cold, but I knew the earlier you went, you were going to have a better chance,” he said.
Billy Mayfair shot 65 to finish the first round in third, while Ken Duke, Thongchai Jaidee, Dicky Pride and Tom Pernice Jr. are tied for fourth at 4-under 66.
Alan McLean of London, Ont., finished in a 17-way tie for 13th place at 2-under 68, just one stroke ahead of fellow Canadians Stephen Ames and David Morland IV.