WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS - For one day, one winner of dozens of tournaments rediscovered some of his magical touch at the Greenbrier Classic.
No, not that one.
Vijay Singh, who owns 34 PGA Tour titles, three majors and the 2008 FedExCup, shot a 7-under-par 63 to take a one-shot lead in the first round at the Old White TPC.
Jeff Maggert, Martin Flores and Jonathan Byrd turned in 64s on a day where the greens were soft and slower and 62 players broke par.
Of those, only Byrd wasn't playing with a morning tee time, taking advantage of mostly still air and humid conditions. Still, it was one of Singh's best rounds of the year.
"Gosh, I don't know where that came from," said the 49-year-old native of Fiji. "I've been playing pretty good golf for a while, but just never got any scoring going. But today I hit it close and drove the ball really well, hit a lot of greens and made some nice putts."
Singh fired a 6-under 30 on Old White's back nine, scoring four birdies in a row and six in the last eight holes. It could have been more, had he hit a 6-foot putt on the 14th.
That was all right, because he made a 36-footer on the 15th, hit within 41/2 feet on the 16th, 3 feet on the par-5 17th and 61/2 feet on the par-3 18th.
"You know, it's my first good round of the year that I really felt comfortable with," he said. "It's a good way to start a tournament."
Singh has made 13 of 16 cuts this year, but has just one top-10 finish. Ranking 79th in the FedExCup standings, he hasn't won a tournament since that banner year of 2008.
Chasing him is another elder statesman, 48-year-old Maggert, who has had to return to "Q School" two out of the last three years.
Flores, playing with 2011 West Virginia Amateur runner-up Jess Farrell, is another struggling tour pro who has had to go through "Q School" several times. He played bogey-free golf in shooting his career low, making a pair of 21-foot putts on the front nine.
Byrd, a three-time Classic participant, had eight birdies and a mostly super day on the greens. He led an afternoon wave which scored an average 70.72, a bit more than the morning's 69.87.
By late afternoon, a cooling wind whipped up and several greens got a little harder and faster. But Byrd adapted and hit six birdie putts ranging from 12 to 38 feet. His 26-footer on No. 7, over a ridge, was particularly testy.
And Byrd did all this with a nasty cold.