How low could they go?
That was the big question at the first round of the Albertsons Boise Open on Thursday at Hillcrest Country Club.
Three golfers shot 9-under 62s to equal the best first-round score in tournament history.
Prior to Thursday, one golfer in the 23-year history of the Web.com tournament Jonas Blixt last year had opened with a 62.
Thats probably the best weather weve had all year, said Tyrone Van Aswegen, who is tied atop the leaderboard with Michael Putnam and Andrew Svoboda. No wind all day long. The greens are pure. They stayed just a perfect surface to putt on.
The tournament runs through Sunday, with the winner grabbing $130,500 out of the $750,000 purse.
With perfect weather and perfect conditions, the average score Thursday was 69.36, which was the lowest first-round average in tournament history.
Putnam has led after the first round of the Boise Open before. He shot a 6-under 65 to grab the lead in 2008. He topped that score by three strokes Thursday.
It was as easy as its ever played, the Tacoma, Wash., native said. Zero wind and perfect temperature. On days like today, youre never second-guessing a yardage or second-guessing a shot shape.
Putnam teed off in the morning, and he was the first to post a 62. He said he has a certain comfort level in Boise. This is his fifth time playing here, and hes finished in sixth place in 2008 and 15th in 2010.
I just enjoy being on the West Coast, he said. Anywhere west of the Mississippi Im happy with. Ive played here a bunch and I think Ive played well here every year. Its just a comfortable place.
Svoboda has played in the Boise Open before, but he hasnt had the success that Putnam has had. He missed the cut in his two previous trips to Hillcrest. But he saw an opportunity to post a low number Thursday and took advantage.
It was perfect, he said. It was nice not to have the wind.
Svoboda came into the tournament No. 11 on the Web.com money list. The Top 25 money-earners at the end of the year earn PGA Tour cards, so a strong showing in Boise could be a life-changer for the New Yorker.
The same could be said of Van Aswegen, who sits at No. 41 on the Web.com money list. The native of South Africa posted his low score late in the day, as the conditions and the greens held up.
With the third-to-last tee time, you should get a few footprints, he said. But it was just smooth.
And that made for a day of smooth sailing.
We were playing golf indoors today, said Justin Hicks, who finished at 6-under, three off the pace. It was 75 degrees, sun shining, not a cloud in the sky.
Chris Langrill: 377-6424