SAN MARTIN, Calif. — Rocco Mediate once flirted with a major victory over Tiger Woods. Now he's happy being in contention no matter what day of the week.
"It was fun playing with a lead," Mediate said after he made a hole-in-one on the par-3 third hole and shot a bogey-free 7-under 64 Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Frys.com Open. "You can wait your whole life for this feeling."
Ryuji Imada of Tampa, Paul Goydos and Bo Van Pelt were at 65, and John Mallinger, Michael Letzig, Shaun Micheel and Will MacKenzie were at 66. U.S. Ryder Cup player Rickie Fowler shot 69 in the third of five PGA Tour Fall Series events.
Mediate used a 6-iron on the 190-yard third hole for the hole-in-one. He also had an ace in the third round of the John Deere Classic in July.
"It's just cool," said Mediate, 46. "It looked like it barely fell in."
Mediate lost a 19-hole playoff to Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open and has not finished higher than ninth since.
"It's all about putting," Mediate said. "It has just been destroying me. I reach the fairway and hit the green but I three-putt three to five times a day, and you're not going to beat anybody doing that."
He knew what he needed to do to correct the situation, but it seemed to fail him until the past few weeks.
"No matter what I did, I could not make any putts," Mediate said. "My attitude was horrible. I kept thinking I would hit the green but miss the putt."
He hopes to make the cut for next year's PGA Tour. He's 182nd on the money list and needs to finish among the top 125.
"If I don't have enough money to be in the top 125 then I don't belong there," Mediate said. "I'll go to Q-school if I have to. I know I can still compete.
Imada is 110th on the money list, above the cutoff line to remain on the PGA Tour but tenuous nonetheless.
"I know the number will be larger than where I am now I am assuming," Imada said.
Goydos, 46, is 76th on the money list. He bogeyed his first hole and went 1 under through the back nine. He made up for it on the front nine.
"I started cold and heated up,'' he said. "I like the hot weather. It helps my old body get loose."
Goydos served as an assistant captain at the Ryder Cup, recently attended a friend's benefit event and did not touch his clubs for two weeks.
Participating in the Ryder Cup pumped new life into the golfer who hasn't won an event since the Sony Open in Hawaii three years ago.
Van Pelt, 20th on the money list, played the course consistently well after seeing it for the first time in Wednesday's pro-am.
"Any time you go bogey free you're happy," he said.