Former Tiger golfers lit up the leader board at the Web.com's Chitimacha Louisiana Open on Thursday, as Danny Ellis grabbed a share of the first-round lead, while Ben Martin, D.J. Trahan and Brian Duncan are in close pursuit.
The 42-year-old Ellis, who is trying to work his way back to the PGA Tour for the first time since 2007, had seven birdies and one bogey at Le Triomphe Country Club at Broussard, La. en route to a six-under par 65. He shares the lead with local favorite and former LSU star John Peterson.
“I just tried to keep it simple,” Ellis told Web.com. "This course plays fast all the time. It’s kind of crucial that you get the ball in the fairway. I wasn’t trying to pick specific holes to try and make birdies. I just putted great today.”
Ellis, who finished third in the 2005 Louisiana Open, is a veteran of 113 PGA Tour tournaments and has four career top-10 finishes. He last cracked the top 10 at the 2006 Zurich Class of New Orleans.
Martin will begin play on Friday tied for third place, just one stroke behind Ellis. He shot a five-under 66 on Thursday that included five birdies and no bogeys. His younger brother Matt is caddying for him at the tournament.
Trahan is tied for sixth at four-under after shooting a first-round 67. He had five birdies and a bogey in the opening round.
Duncan grabbed the early lead on Thursday with eagles on both front-side par-fives, and was six-under after seven holes. He slipped back with a pair of bogeys and a double-bogey in his final six holes and finished with a two-under par 69.
“I didn’t hit it great today but I scored well,” Trahan told Web.com. “The wind picked up and I misplayed it a little bit. It was a good day with the putter and I’m excited with the way things are going. Obviously I’d like to hit the ball better tee to green...
“The greens are pretty quick and if the wind blows they won’t be easy to putt in the wind. It’s out there but I think 15 or 16-under is a realistic number for the week. Twenty would be great and probably would win the tournament.”
Trahan is making his first appearance on the Web.com Tour in 10 years after not making the field for the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational. He finished 135th on the PGA Tour money list in 2012 and has conditional status for this season.
“It’s been 10 years but that doesn’t matter. You’re playing where you’re playing,” Trahan said. “Sure, I’d rather be playing at Bay Hill this week, who wouldn’t? There isn’t a guy in this field who wouldn’t want to be at Bay Hill. It’s one of those things where I have to pick myself back up. I fell down off the horse and I’ve got to get back up on it. That’s what I’m working towards now. The reality of it is you’re here, so you need to pick yourself up.”
Chasing the cutline on Friday will be Phillip Mollica, who had a one-over 72 in the opening round, Sam Saunders, who shot a 73, and Matt Hendrix, who had a 74.
In the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational, both Lucas Glover and Kyle Stanley struggled to first-round 77s on Thursday.