HUMBLE, Texas (AP) — Johnson Wagner knew his course record at Redstone was history after his first tee shot at the Houston Open.
He didn’t lose it for long.
Wagner shot a 9-under 63 in windy conditions on Thursday to match Adam Scott’s new record and share the first-round lead.
Charley Hoffman was two behind the leaders after a 65 and Steve Stricker was three back. Phil Mickelson, one of several top players using Houston as a tuneup for next week’s Masters, shot a 72 in the afternoon, when blustery wind produced higher scores.
The 28-year-old Wagner also shared the first-round lead last year and shared the previous course record (64) with Bubba Watson. He teed off after Scott was finished and noticed immediately that Scott had shot 63.
“Walking down our first hole, I looked over at my caddie (Steve Hale), we saw the board,” Wagner said. “I said, ‘There it goes, it’s gone.’ He said, ‘Well, the day’s not over yet. You still have a chance.”’
Wagner started on the back nine and was 6 under with two holes left. With his mother watching, Wagner knocked a 260-yard approach within a foot on the eighth and tapped in for an eagle. He was 5 under on his last five holes.
“Heard my mom whistling,” he said. “She’s got a loud whistle.”
Wagner has missed six cuts in nine starts this year, his second on tour, but his scoring average in five rounds at Redstone is 68.2.
“I don’t think I’ve ever held another course record anywhere other than this place,” he said.
Scott played his first nine holes with almost no wind and took advantage, making the turn in 6-under 30, one shy of the tournament record for nine holes.
But Scott had other things on his mind.
He said he’s been sick since he arrived in Houston with a fever and swollen glands around his throat. He struggled to get out of bed before his tee time and visited a doctor in the clubhouse after his round.
In between, he was practically flawless, reaching 17 of 18 greens in regulation and needing only 28 putts.
“I was just about conserving energy and thought about hitting the fairway and hitting the green and not having to work too hard,” he said. “Fortunately, that’s kind of how today went. I need to keep going that way.”
If only he could feel this ill – and play this well – at Augusta.
“I’d like to stay like this for about another two weeks,” he joked. “Maybe I shouldn’t get the antibiotics.”
Redstone seems to be tonic enough.
Scott was 22 under in his last 54 holes at Redstone and hasn’t made a bogey since the 18th hole of his second round last year. He shot 65-66 on the weekend to earn a three-shot victory.
Starting on the back nine Thursday, Scott made a 55-foot birdie putt on his first hole, then added birdies on 12, 13 and 15. He holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the tough 18th to finish at 6-under 30.
“I didn’t start the day out feeling like I was playing great,” Scott said. “But certainly, as the round went on and the more birdies I made, the confidence came and the swings became better.”
Scott two-putted for par on his last hole to beat the course record set by Wagner and Watson in last year’s third round. Scott and Wagner missed the tournament record by a stroke.
Hoffman shot a 31 on his front nine, then overcame a three-putt bogey on his 11th hole with birdies on two of his last three.
“Nice to see those when there hasn’t been so much of that this year,” said Hoffman, who is 105th in the money list.
Stricker was 1 over after five holes, then birdied six of his next nine, finishing the stretch by holing a bunker shot on the par-4 fifth. He added a birdie on the par-5 eighth to secure his sixth sub-70 score in his past seven rounds at Redstone.
Divots: Davis Love III, needing a victory to qualify for next week’s Masters, shot a 69. Love has the longest active streak of major appearances (70). … Jason Gore withdrew on Thursday morning with an illness. … John Daly opened with a 78.