Hilton Head Island, April 13:
Zach Johnson got back to work four days after his Masters victory, ceding some of the attention to Jerry Kelly, whose chance at 60 faded into a 8-under 63 and a two-stroke, first-round lead at the Verizon Heritage.
Ernie Els was next at 65 with Johnson finishing with a 1-under 70 at Harbour Town Golf Links. Kelly, three shots behind Johnson last week, knocked in a 4-foot birdie putt on his 15th hole to move to 9-under par. The run ended two holes later after Kelly put his approach into a bunker and could not save par.
Els usually plays well at Harbour Town â€” he has six top-10 finishes in eight previous trips â€” and that continued on Thursday. Els opened the round going birdie-eagle, then holed a sand shot on the par-3 17th to move two strokes behind Kelly.
Johnson started quickly with a birdie on his first hole. By the time he rolled in a birdie on the par-5 second, Johnson was 3 under and staying with Kelly. But his approach on the third hole dribbled off the back, leading to a bogey. He three-putted from 65 feet on the par-3 fourth hole for a second straight bogey.
After an eagle on the par-5 fifth, Johnson blew up on No 6, four-putting from 35 feet for a double-bogey. Johnsonâ€™s visit here was a boost to a tournament minus major draws such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Jim Furyk, No 2 in the world, heads a field that includes just three of the worldâ€™s top 10 players.