New outlook works for Texas Open leader Matt Every

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SAN ANTONIO — Matt Every arrived at the Texas Open having sworn off instructors, proudly cutting practices short and cringing at the sight of other players endlessly tweaking their swings.

Texas Open leader Matt Every, who recently split with his golf instructor, opened with 63 on Thursday and leads by three shots.  ERIC GAY/ASSOCIATED PRESS
ERIC GAY/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Texas Open leader Matt Every, who recently split with his golf instructor, opened with 63 on Thursday and leads by three shots.

His reward was a course record at a PGA Tour stop.

Outshining the few big PGA Tour names in a weakened field, Every made nine birdies in a bogey-free 9-under-par 63 for a three-stroke lead over Hunter Haas after the first round Thursday.

It was a career best on a notoriously unforgiving TPC San Antonio course that opened in 2010, but is partly blamed for why the tournament doesn’t attract more star power.

‘’I see the same guys tinkering with their swings, and they spend all day Tuesday and Wednesday practicing, and I think, ‘God, I’m glad I’m not one of these guys,’ ’’ Every said. ‘’And I’m sticking to that. When I get on the course, I’m more interested in playing golf than my golf swing.’’

Every, whose best finish in six years on the tour is third, coasted to his first lead since sharing the top spot entering the final round of the Sony Open in January.

His wife, who is seven months pregnant, followed him for the entirety of a the record that broke the course mark of 64 set by Ryan Palmer and Scott Piercy in 2010.

“Told her, only wanted her to go to nine today,’’ Every said. “Said she had to keep going after the front nine. It’s cool.’’

Haas finished with one of the round’s three eagles on the par-5 18th. Former British Open champion Ben Curtis, playing in his fourth PGA Tour event of the season because of limited
status, was fourth strokes back at 67.

Fredrik Jacobson, Cameron Beckman, Jason Gore, Troy Matteson and Derek Lamely shot 68.

Haas shot a bogey-free round capped by a brilliant approach on No. 18, driving a 3-wood from the fairway to 5 feet. He has struggled this season, missing the cut six times and finishing no better than a tie for 37th in Mexico at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

“It’s nice to finish a round like that. It’s been a while,’’ Haas said.

Matt Kuchar, the tournament’s top-ranked player at No. 15 and two weeks removed from his near miss at the Masters Tournament, closed with a bogey on the par-4 ninth for 70. Johnson Wagner had 74 after speaking optimistically about taking advantage of the absence of star players in the field.

Defending champion Brendan Steele had 73.

Kevin Na, who returned to San Antonio poking fun at his memorable 16 on No. 9 last year, made a 6-footer for par this time on the hole, which was his 18th, then withdrew after signing for 79.

After his round Thursday, a PGA Tour spokesman cautioned reporters that Every sometimes doesn’t ease into interviews as easily as other players. But the 28-year-old former Florida star was candid and carefree.

He only casually mentioned ditching his swing instructor two weeks ago.

“Lately I’ve been trying to do as little as possible with everything involved with golf,’’ Every said. “If I’m hitting bad in the range I won’t even work out – I’ll quit and go home. And it’s been working. It has. I’m playing better golf because of it.’’

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