CROMWELL, Conn. — Brendan Steele changed his putter and ended up equaling the lowest round of his career at the Travelers Championship.
Steele shot 8-under 62 Thursday for a one-stroke lead in the first round of the PGA Tour event at TPC River Highlands.
Steele went from a long to a short putter while trying to qualify for the U.S. Open, and though he missed that tournament, he said the change seems to be paying off. He needed just 26 putts Thursday.
"Speed control is a lot better," he said.
Steele finished two shots off the course record set by Patrick Cantlay in 2011 as an amateur.
Bud Cauley and Ryan Moore shot 63. Former Stanford stars Patrick Rodgers (66) and Cameron Wilson (73) made their pro debuts. Rodgers won 11 college tournaments and this year's Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus awards as the nation's top college player. Wilson won the NCAA individual title.
Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton, coming off a second-place tie in the U.S. Open, had 74.
European: Mikko Ilonen shot a course-record 7-under 64 and crowd favorite Rory McIlroy was 10 shots behind in the first round of the Irish Open in Cork. Ilonen had a two-shot lead. McIlroy was 3 over. "I was very sloppy with the scoring clubs, wedges, the short game, the putting," McIlroy said. "All that was just a little off. Hopefully, that is my poor round for the week."