Sean Crocker shot a course-record 9-under 63 to lead by one shot after the first round of the Hero Open on the European tour on Thursday.
It was the American’s lowest round on the tour, featuring eight birdies and an eagle at Fairmont St. Andrews — just up the road from the storied Old Course where the British Open was held two weeks ago.
Crocker went on a run of birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie from the third hole and had four birdies in five holes from No. 11.
“That was fun,” said the No. 241-ranked Crocker. “I don’t get too many days like that on the greens but when I get it going, it seems to end in a nice low round. Which is nice, because I’m not as used to it as some of these guys.”
Crocker had a run of nine missed cuts at the start of the season, describing that as “the toughest thing I’ve gone through.”
“People speak about the mental side of sport,” he said, “but that’s probably the darkest I’ve been in life on a golf course.
“It’s the first time I’ve had bad things happen to me on the golf course. And it’s just a case of having to grow up. Just said to myself, ‘OK, you’ve been lucky to play good golf your whole life and now you’re going to get a taste of what this game is really like.'”
Five players were in a tie for second place after rounds of 64s: Romain Langasque of France, English pair Ben Stow and Ashley Chesters, Jens Dantorp of Sweden and Adrian Otaegui of Spain.