GREENSBORO — Fairmont native William McGirt played the best round of his career Thursday with a 62, taking a share of the lead on the first day of the Wyndham Championship.
Heading into the event, McGirt was rested and ready to go after a two-week break from PGA Tour competition.
That move appeared to pay off Thursday.
McGirt carded an 8-under-par 62 on the par-70 course at Sedgefield Country Club, positioning himself in a three-way tie for the lead heading into the second round. His previous low score was a 63 at the 2012 Canadian Open, in which he finished in a tie for second place.
“(I) finally was able to make some putts,” McGirt told the Robesonian on Thursday afternoon. “I gave myself a lot of good looks today.”
As one of the first players to tee off in the first round, McGirt set the pace early, starting his day with an opening birdie on the par-4 10th. He followed with another birdie on No. 13, before rolling in back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16. He rounded out his first nine holes with a birdie on the par-4 18th.
“I made two really good par saves (on Nos. 14 and 17) to keep the momentum going on the back nine starting out,” said McGirt, who posted a bogey-free round.
“I hit a lot of good putts on the front that didn’t go in. I drove it in the fairway most of the day and when I missed, it was usually in the first cut.”
Carrying his momentum to the final nine holes, McGirt birdied Nos. 3, 5 and 8 to finish his round one shy of tying the course record.
After positioning himself atop the leaderboard with a chance to claim his first PGA Tour victory, McGirt said it was “all in all a very good day.”
He is set to tee off in the second round at noon Friday.
McGirt shares the lead with Erik Compton, who is also looking for his first PGA Tour win, and Tom Hoge. Morgan Hoffman, Jim Herman and Derek Ernst sit one stroke back at 7 under. Major champions Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods join Davis Love III and Carl Pettersson after carding 64.
The score was a welcome sight for Woods, who posted his lowest score on the PGA Tour since a 61 in the second round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2013.
He and the others took advantage of a low-scoring day at what he called a “tricky” Donald Ross-designed course at Sedgefield Country Club that gave up bunches of birdies after morning showers softened the fairways and greens.
“When it’s like this,” Woods said, “you’ve got to throw darts and go low.”
That low score couldn’t have come at a better time for the biggest name in the sport.
He set the tone by holing a 54-foot chip shot on his first hole, the par-4 10th, for the first of his seven birdies.
“Finally,” he said, “I got something out of my round.”
Woods arrived insisting he was playing better than his recent results might indicate.
He had missed the cut in three straight majors and had not finished better than a tie for 17th at the Masters. He’s at No. 187 on the FedEx Cup points list and probably needs a win to move into the top 125 and earn a playoff spot.
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley. The Associated Press contributed to this report.