GREENSBORO, N.C. — Bob Heintz has always wanted some fans to follow him around the course for a change. For one day, he got that kind of attention, even if it took some ribbing — and a remarkable start to the Wyndham Championship.
Heintz, a Palm Harbor resident, and rookie Martin Laird matched the course record Thursday with 7-under 63s at Sedgefield Country Club to share the lead after the first round of the PGA Tour's last event before the FedEx Cup playoffs open.
They joined three other players who had shot 63s at the course — nobody had done it since Gary Player in 1970, although the pros haven't played Sedgefield since 1976 — and surpassed the venue's opening-round record by one stroke.
Early during Heintz's round, he figured out that the roughly 50 people in the gallery were far more interested in another member of his threesome, local amateur Drew Weaver.
"I said, 'I imagine y'all are here to watch Drew, right?' " Heintz said. "They kind of laughed and felt bad that they weren't there to watch me. I relayed to them that one of my career goals was to get where I'm good enough where someone might actually go to a golf course, pick up a pairing sheet and say, 'I'll follow Bob Heintz's group today.'
"That's kind of a vague career goal, but they started to tease me about that as the day went on — 'I guess I'll follow you now.' I'd rather have attention than, you know, have nobody know who I was."
Heintz, 38, started his round on the back nine and birdied five of his first eight holes.
Laird, who had a bogey-free round with five birdies, ranks 162nd on the money list and 164th on the points list. Heintz is one spot ahead of Laird in earnings but trails him by three spots in the FedEx Cup chase in which the top 144 players advance to the postseason.
"If I was to point to something and say, 'This could be stressful for me right now,' it would not be whether I get into the FedEx Cup," Heintz said. "It would be, you know, am I going to be able to finish this year in the top 125?
"Am I going to be able to finish in the top 150? For a player of my current status, those are the real concerns. I would love to take some of that FedEx Cup money, and that would mean good things for me, but I don't come to this week going, 'Man, I've got to get in the FedEx Cup.' "
LPGA: Defending champion Lorena Ochoa shot bogey-free 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over Annika Sorenstam in the Canadian Women's Open in Ottawa, leaving Michelle Wie nine strokes back in her final tour event of the year. Ochoa hit all 18 greens in regulation and was in the rough only once.
Champions: Defending champion Mark McNulty shot 5-under 67 for a share of the lead at the Tradition, the fourth of the tour's five majors. Craig Stadler, Gene Jones, Mark Wiebe, Tim Simpson, Jay Haas and David Eger joined McNulty at top of the leaderboard in Sunriver, Ore.
European: Nick Dougherty holed a 142-yard wedge shot for eagle on his way to 4-under 66 and a tie for the lead with Peter Hanson and Pedro Linhart at the SAS Masters in Stockholm, Sweden.
Florida Cup: The North claimed the title after earning 28½ points to the South's 11½ points at Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club in Tampa.
Amateur qualifier: St. Petersburg's Michael Barbosa shot 9 under to qualify for Monday's 108th U.S. Amateur by capturing medalist honors (67-68—135) at Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton. Barbosa, a second-year student at Stetson School of Law, played at Georgia Tech. "I'm very excited and looking forward to playing in the tournament," said Barbosa, who has played six times on the same courses at Pinehurst, N.C. "I've shot some good rounds there."
Times correspondent Dave Theall contributed to this report.