Arjun Atwal made a fine start at the Wyndham Championships, which he won two years ago, as he carded a four-under 66 despite two bogeys in three holes between 12th and 14th in the first round at the Sedgefield Country Club here.
Atwal was placed tied eighth at the end of the first day on Thursday.
Atwal birdied the fifth, eighth and ninth, turned in three-under and added a fourth on the 11th but two quick bogeys on 12th and 14th set him back. The Indian has also been in focus this week as he distributed saffron ribbons among players to create awareness about Sikhs in the US following the Wisconsin shooting earlier this month.
"I was deeply affected by it. I wanted to create awareness about Sikhs, who are peace loving and very friendly people," he said.
The star on the first day was Carl Pettersson who shot an 8-under 62 to take the first-round lead. David Mathis and Tm Clark were a stroke back, Tom Gillis, Scott Stallings and Troy Matteson shot 64 each and Matt Every had a 65 in the final event before the FedExCup playoffs.
This was the event that Atwal won in 2010 and became the first Indian to taste success on the PGA Tour.
"I guess I would love to win it again. The game has been turning around a bit over the last few weeks, otherwise it has not been a great year," Atwal said.
The top of the leaderboard had a decidedly local flavor. Pettersson went to high school in Greensboro and lives in Raleigh, and both he and Clark played at North Carolina State. Mathis grew up in Winston-Salem, played collegiately at Campbell and lives north of Raleigh in the town of Wake Forest.
Pettersson, a Swede who became an American citizen during the offseason, had the best first round of his PGA TOUR career and his best round at this event since 2008, when he set the tournament record with a second-round 61 and went on to win in his adopted hometown.