CROMWELL - Itâ€™s amazing what one shot can do for a golferâ€™s confidence.
Just ask Ryan Armour.
The 43-year-old opened his first round at the Travelers Championship Thursday with four straight pars, despite having multiple birdie looks that could have pushed Armour under par in the early going.
â€śI didnâ€™t make any early,â€ť Armour said. â€śOne through four, I had some looks and didnâ€™t make them.â€ť
That was before Armour stepped to the fifth hole and smacked a tee shot onto the green, landing just over 21 feet from the pin. Looking to avoid his run of pars and convert his first birdie of the morning, Armour sank the long putt, starting a streak of three straight birdies and ended with him atop the leaderboard as he entered the clubhouse.
â€ś[I] rolled one in on five, and that just kind of â€¦ itâ€™s unbelievable. Sports are a game of momentum, and golf is too,â€ť Armour said. â€ś[As] soon as I made that one, [it] kind of opened up and I rolled in some 15, 20 footers, which I hadnâ€™t been doing.â€ť
Armour ended his day tied for first with Bronson Burgoon at 6-under par. The last birdie of his trio came on the seventh hole, when he sank a 12-foot putt to move to 3-under. He closed the front nine and opened the back nine with pars before running off another streak of three straight birdies to reach his high mark of the day at 6-under.
â€śI played well [and] gave myself a lot of opportunities, which I hadnâ€™t been doing lately,â€ť Armour said. â€ś[I] hadnâ€™t been hitting a lot of greens. [I] wasnâ€™t shaping the golf ball the way I wanted to shape it.â€ť
Armour was hitting his greens Thursday, and also his fairways. Aside from the 15th hole, where he sent a drive into the water for his only bogey of the round, Armour hit every fairway, setting himself up for multiple birdie opportunities, which he began to convert regularly after the first four holes.
â€ś[I] drove it in the fairway all day,â€ť Armour said. â€śThat allowed me to get my hand on a perfect lie every time and you could be kind of aggressive to some hole locations.â€ť
One of those brilliant drives came on his final hole of the day, when he followed a 272-yard drive with a shot that put him nine feet from the hole. Armour faced an uphill climb, literally, on that birdie putt, but after watching himself sink a number of long birdie putts already, he wasnâ€™t going to be denied, sinking the putt to end his day with seven birdies, and a share of the lead with a final score of 64.
â€śItâ€™s great to finish stuff off,â€ť Armour said. â€śYou really want to make that. I had like 10, 11 feet straight up the hill, which straight putts are always difficult. In the grand scheme of things, itâ€™s only one shot, but itâ€™s going to make lunch taste better.â€ť
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or email@example.com