WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS - While some members of the 40-and-older crowd found themselves near the top of the leader board in the first couple of days at the Greenbrier Classic, a pair of young guns were firing bullets at Old White TPC's receptive greens as well.
Patrick Cantlay and Justin Thomas shot fine rounds Thursday and didn't exactly fall apart on Friday. After each shot an opening-round 67, Cantlay grinded out an even-par 70 and Thomas shot a 71, making them 3-under and 2-under, respectively, for the tournament.
But these greenhorns at The Greenbrier have a lot more in common than a few good rounds.
Cantlay, a two-time All American golfer at UCLA, turned pro back on June 19, but everyone in the golf world has long known his name. He finished as the top amateur on some of the biggest stages in golf, including this year's Masters and the 2011 U.S. Open.
The 20-year-old also holds the distinction of registering the lowest round ever in a PGA Tour event by an amateur, a 60 at the 2011 Travelers Championship.
Cantlay said the switch in status hasn't affected his game or mindset.
"I don't think there is [a difference]," Cantlay said. "I'm just trying to play golf the same. The game doesn't change at all. It's the same game plan."
But it does feel good to actually get paid at these things, right?
"Yeah it does," Cantlay said. "But like I said, I'm not really worried about that, I'm just trying to play well."
Playing two groups behind Cantlay's on Friday was amateur Thomas, who has taken college golf by storm in the past year.
As a freshman at Alabama, he won his first collegiate event and became the first Crimson Tide golfer to claim five wins in a season en route to winning the Haskins Award, given to the country's top collegiate golfer. Among his wins were the SEC individual championship and the NCAA Southeast Regional, both tournaments in which Thomas led Alabama to team wins.
Even as an amateur playing among the best in the world, Thomas' expectations remain high.