Tommy Gainey, Johnson Wagner share lead at The Greenbrier Classic

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Tommy Gainey throws his ball in the air as he waits to play on the 12th fairway at The Greenbrier Classic. He shot 62 and shares the lead with Johnson Wagner.   STEVE HELBER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
STEVE HELBER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Tommy Gainey throws his ball in the air as he waits to play on the 12th fairway at The Greenbrier Classic. He shot 62 and shares the lead with Johnson Wagner.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — The mustache is gone, and for one round at least, Johnson Wagner also didn’t have to deal with playing bad golf.

Wagner and Tommy Gainey each shot 8-under-par 62 on Thursday to share a two-stroke lead after the first round of The Greenbrier Classic.

Webb Simpson and Jin Park shot 64s.

Gainey and Wagner had bogey-free rounds. Wagner was 8-under after 12 holes but finished with six consecutive pars.

Both could use a good week – Gainey is 125th in season tour winnings, while Wagner ranks 148th.

Wagner doesn’t have a top-10 finish this year and the three-time tour champion hasn’t won since the 2012 Sony Open. In his past seven events, he’s missed six cuts.

“The last couple of months have been really hard,” Wagner said. “I just haven’t been much fun to be around. It’s just been tough. Nobody likes to be bad at what they do, especially golfers.”

Gainey’s first PGA Tour victory came last fall at the McGladrey Classic, but like Wagner he has missed more cuts than he’s made this year.

Gainey said he had stopped having fun on the course.

“I had gotten away from that and I’m trying to get back into that now,” he said.

EUROPEAN TOUR: In Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines, France, Anders Hansen shot 5-under-par 66 to lead by a stroke after the first round of the French Open.

Hansen made seven birdies and two bogeys on the Albatross course of Le Golf National, which will play host to the Ryder Cup in 2018.

Romain Wattel is in second place, one stroke clear of nine players who shared third place, including
Martin Kaymer.

Kaymer and Miguel Angel Jimenez (69) stayed in contention, along with 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell (69) and Matt Kuchar (70).

Former Augusta State golfer Scott Jamieson also had 69.

“If you hit off line out here, you lose your ball basically,” McDowell said. “It’s a very punishing golf course.”

Kuchar is second in the Fedex rankings behind Tiger Woods and was making his French Open debut.

“It was an amazing reception on the first tee,” Kuchar said. “It just made me feel very welcome. I was excited to get around and going.”

Ranked 1560th in the world, Thomas Pieters had a share of third place until the last hole where he made a double bogey for a 70 to slip to 24th.

The 21-year-old Pieters turned pro in June and was playing for the first time on the European Tour.

Former top-ranked Luke Donald birdied his last two holes to limit the damage with an even-par 71.

“This is a course that demands a lot of precision,” Donald said. “If you’re a little bit off, it can bite you. It bit me on 18.”

Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter (73), Matteo Manassero (73), defending champion Marcel Siem (78) and Thorbjorn Olesen (78) will need a good second round today to make the cut.

LOCAL INTEREST

SCOTT BROWN

North Augustan

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