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The Open's over! Birdies fly at Travelers

Hunter Mahan
Fred Beckham/AP
Hunter Mahan shoot a first-round 62 Thursday.

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — The scoreboard at Travelers Championship made the U.S. Open seem like a distant memory.

A week after only eight sub-par rounds were carded at the U.S. Open, 60 players broke par in the first round.

Hunter Mahan, who finished second a year ago, shot an 8-under 62, one shot off the course record, to take the first-round lead. It was his sixth consecutive round in the 60s at the TPC at River Highlands.

"It's one of the courses that you look at it and you feel comfortable,'' he said. "There's not really a shot here that I worry about.''

Rain suspended play Thursday night and 39 golfers wrapped up their first round Friday morning, including Olin Browne, who won this tournament in 1998. He finished with a 67, then eagled early in his second round to trail the leader by three.

"This is what golf should be,'' said Chris DiMarco, whose 64 was good for only second place. "It shouldn't be about plus 20s and plus 25s. I think the fans, if we started doing that every week, I think we would lose our fans. I think they want to see us make birdies.''

Mahan shot a 31 on his first nine holes. He parred No. 10, then birdied his next four holes. A rain delay of more than an hour didn't seem to faze him, as he came back out and birdied No. 17.

"I hit my driver great, put the ball in play,'' he said. "I hit a lot of good irons and wedges.''

That run allowed him to overtake DiMarco, who shot a strong round despite an ailing shoulder.

"I hit a ton of good golf shots today,'' Mahan said. "But it's just the first round. We've got a long way to go.''

Mahan tied his best round, which came during the third round of the 2003 Valero Texas Open. His previous best this year was a second-round 65 at the Buick Invitational. He's had two top-10 finishes this year but has never won on tour.

"If I can build on my score from today, I feel I have a pretty good shot,'' he said.

The course record is 61, held by four players, including two-time champion Phil Mickelson, who withdrew from this year's tournament because of an ailing left wrist.

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