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Early ace pushes Mathis out front

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Published Jun. 22, 2012

CROMWELL, Conn. — David Mathis hoped to start strong at the Travelers Championship after missing the cut last week in the U.S. Open.

The 38-year-old birdied his first hole, then holed out from 158 yards on the par-3 11th. He knocked in a 49-foot birdie putt on his third, was at 6-under par after six holes, and fished with 6-under 64 for a one-shot lead.

"It was an awesome start," said Mathis, who has never finished better than eighth in a PGA Tour event. "I was hitting a lot of great shots (later), and I guess it felt like a lull compared to how I started."

Nathan Green, Will Claxton and defending champion Fredrik Jacobson shot 65 on a day when temperatures reached the upper 90s.

U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson and Masters winner Bubba Watson played together and finished in a group of 10 at 66. The third member of the threesome, PGA champion Keegan Bradley, shot 68.

Mathis' ace was the shot of the day. He said he was just trying to cut a 9-iron close to the pin.

"It kind of bounced and stumbled right and went right in the hole," he said.

Also, Simpson will skip next month's British Open to be with his wife for the birth of their second child, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

"After winning (the U.S. Open), it's certainly a little bit harder to not go," he said. "But in the grand scheme of life, it's a decision I know I'll always be happy I made."

The British Open begins July 19; Dowd Simpson is due in late July.

LPGA: Sandra Changkija birdied six of her final eight holes for a career-best 8-under 63 and a three-stroke lead during the suspended first round of the inaugural Manulife Financial Classic in Waterloo, Ontario. Seventy-two players were unable to finish due to bad weather. "My ball striking's been good, you know, for most every tournament I've played in," said Changkija, who has made only two cuts in her rookie season. "I just missed a few fairways here and there."

Shanshan Feng, coming off a win two weeks ago in the LPGA Championship, shot 66. Suzann Pettersen, Angela Stanford, Karin Sjodin and Lacey Agnew shot 67.

Tampa resident Kristy McPherson was at 70, Clearwater's Jennifer Gleason at 74 and Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse at 75.