MILWAUKEE (AP) – Corey Pavin struggled to find the right description for his record-setting round Thursday.

It was somewhere between magical and downright weird.

Brilliant early and nervous late, the 46-year-old Pavin broke the PGA Tour’s nine-hole record with a front-nine 26 en route to a 9-under 61 and a three-stroke lead in the suspended first round of the rain-soaked U.S. Bank Championship.

He birdied his first six holes and eight of the first nine in his bogey-free round on the Brown Deer Park Golf Course.

“It seemed like it was a misprint up there, maybe,” Pavin said. “It was just one of those nine holes, once in a lifetime for me so far, anyway.”

Arjun Atwal opened with a 64, Skip Kendall and Cameron Beckman shot 65s and David Frost also was 5 under through 17 holes when play was suspended.

Defending champion Ben Crane and 105 other players were unable to finish the round.

Pavin said he didn’t feel the start coming at the driving range, but he had his old caddie, Eric Schwarz, back for the second time after a six-month layoff.

“We’ve worked really hard on the flatstick,” Pavin said. “It showed up at Hartford and it showed up here and those are the two tournaments since he came back on the bag.”

Pavin tied for 21st in the Buick Championship in Cromwell, Conn., earlier this month, finishing at 4 under. He bettered that five holes into Thursday’s action.

He started out with a 39-foot birdie putt on the first hole that he felt compelled to apologize for due to his stroke of good luck. On No. 4, he sank a putt from nearly the same distance and he moved to 6 under with a 4-footer two holes later.

“Is Pavin 6 over?” a spectator asked while lounging around the green at No. 7 and unaware of the growing crowd following the group.

No, Pavin was definitely 6 under, and he cooled off briefly when his tee shot flew to the back part of the green on the par-3 seventh, forcing him to putt twice for par.

“I kind of messed up seven, didn’t I?” Pavin said.

That par was his only one on the front nine, but he began thinking about shooting the PGA Tour’s lowest round, a 59, after he birdied No. 8.

Pavin, who won the U.S. Open in 1995 and the Greater Milwaukee Open in 1986 among 14 tour victories, managed just one birdie on the back nine – at the 16th – and said he was too aggressive on the par-5 final hole because he couldn’t fend off the desire to try for an eagle and a 59.

Instead, Pavin found the bunker and settled for par.

But players were impressed with Pavin’s sizzling start.

“To shoot 26 on the front side, it’s like playing putt-putt. That’s truly amazing,” Kendall said. “I need to grab his shirttails and hang on.”

Pavin hit only three of 13 fairways in regulation, and just 3 minutes after he got off the course, thunderstorms moved through and delayed play the rest of the afternoon.

Could Pavin have hit a few more fairways and gone even lower?

“I was fortunate that I drew some good lies in the rough,” Pavin said. “Who knows if I would have been in the fairway more if that would have helped or hurt my score? The golf gods do what they do.”

Divots: Pavin broke the nine-hole mark of 27 set by Mike Souchak in the 1955 Texas Open and matched by Andy North (1975 B.C. Open), Billy Mayfair (2001 Buick Open) and Robert Gamez (2004 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic). North and Gamez were 9 under for their nine holes. … Pavin’s 61 tied Ken Green (1988), Gamez (1991) and Steve Lowery (1999) for the lowest round in tournament history. … Kendall is being inducted into the Wisconsin Golf Association Hall of Fame on Saturday night.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.