WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS - For half the field Thursday at the Greenbrier Classic, the object was to take advantage of scoring-friendly conditions, post a low number, return to the hotel and take a nap.
For Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey and Johnson Wagner, the nap was probably sweeter than most. They both shot an 8-under 62, taking a two-shot lead over Webb Simpson and Jin Park.
All four had morning tee times.
"I'm very happy that I got my round in without delays because I believe, as I've heard, there's more rain coming," Gainey said. "Probably going to take a nap. I've been up since 5:30, so I'm definitely getting some good food here shortly, kind of hang out with the family, see what they want to do."
Actually, the weather got a lot better after a noon-hour shower. The sun eventually made an appearance and stuck around to the end of the day. The wind even kicked up, making the afternoon players think about their shots a little longer.
Those players who went out in the morning session were a combined 16 under par. The afternoon groupings finished the day a combined 31 over.
As a result of the afternoon scores going higher, the number of players breaking par was 66, lower than one would have guessed at the noon hour.
The air was still in the morning, and players were allowed to lift, clean and replace balls in the fairway all day. A wet week, compounded with persistent rain overnight, led to that decision by the PGA Tour.
"I'll just start out by saying the golf course is really soaked," Gainey said. "It's really soft, and with the players that we have out here, when you have soft greens and the rough is not too penal, I mean, you can score really low out there."
Simpson, who led after 54 holes in last year's Classic, shot 3 under on both nines, as did Park. Park is a Korean who struggled on the PGA Tour in 2008, fell to the Web.com Tour for the next three years and qualified for the big tour again last fall.
The field starts to pile up at 65 - Daniel Summerhays, Neal Lancaster, Tag Ridings and Steven Bowditch. With the exception of Summerhays, those players have had trouble hanging onto their Tour card in recent years.
The 50-year-old Lancaster owns a rain-shortened Tour victory, way back in 1994. He was helped by a 53-foot birdie putt on the difficult 13th, two holes after he made a 33-foot chip for birdie.
"What was crazy is when I missed the green or missed the fairway is when I made a birdie," he said. "When I played the hole solid, I couldn't make a birdie."