US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III and Brandt Snedeker shot a 10-under 62 on Friday in modified alternate-shot play to take the first-round lead in the Franklin Templeton Shootout.
Love said everyone on the US team wanted to play with Snedeker, a captain’s pick, so he took that advice this week.
“That’s why I was so excited to play with him, because I knew it would be fun and comfortable,” Love said.
Love and Snedeker made 10 birdies for the lowest score in the modified alternate-shot format in the 24-year-old tournament’s 12 years in Naples. They tied the third-lowest score overall.
“For the first time in my career, I got to feel like what it’s like to be Davis Love, to hit from some of his tee shots, and hit from some of his beautiful iron shots on these par threes and realize how the game is supposed to be played,” Snedeker said.
Kenny Perry and Sean O’Hair were two strokes back on the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort’s Tiburon Golf Club greens.
“In this format, both players have to play well,” O’Hair said.
Perry was thankful O’Hair saved him after a couple of poor chip shots.
“I didn’t realize how long he was,” Perry said. “I used to hit it kind of close to him and now I realize I need to be staying on the Champions Tour after how far he hits it. I was just stunned.”
The teams of Bud Cauley and Rickie Fowler, Jason Dufner and Vijay Singh, and Charles Howell III and Rory Sabbatini, were third at six-under. Defending champions Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele, and 2010 winners Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter, and Stewart Cink and Carl Pettersson, followed at five-under.
The 12 teams were to play best-ball yesterday, then close the Greg Norman-hosted event with a scramble format today.
Love made an eight-foot birdie putt on hole No. 1, and a 30-footer on No. 3.
“Momentum really jump-started,” Snedeker said.
The two followed with three straight on holes No. 6 to No. 8, then added birdies on holes No. 10, 12, 14, 15 and 17.