Memphis, Tenn. • Davis Love III is busy still trying to play his way back into shape after back surgery in February. Playing with Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson, he did a bit better than just keep up.
The 49-year-old Love shot a 4-under 66 for his best round of the year Thursday for a share of the lead with five other players after the first round of the St. Jude Classic, the final event before the U.S. Open next week at Merion in Ardmore, Pa.
"I still hit some bad shots," Love said.
"At the Players and Memorial, I felt like I was playing better than I was scoring. I think it's rust. I'm excited to be back, and I'm anxious and I want to play better than I'm playing. I'm a little bit tired from the two 36-hole qualifiers as well. You got to be a little bit more patient and polished. That's going to take some rounds of golf to get back."
Stuart Appleby, Harris English, Nathan Green, Martin Flores and Glen Day also pushed their way into the lead on a day where at least three others had a piece of the top spot lead at some point.
Defending champ Dustin Johnson was 5 under through six holes, taking advantage of near perfect conditions at the TPC Southwind with a temperature in the low 80s and only a slight breeze early. But Johnson finished with a 67 and was tied with 10 others including David Toms, a two-time winner here, and Shawn Stefani, who was tied for the lead before he hit into a fairway bunker and bogeyed No. 18.
Jeff Sluman birdied No. 17 en route to a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples on Thursday in Birmingham, Ala., after the first round in the Regions Tradition, the second of five Champions Tour majors.
Sluman, who had eight birdies, and Couples both had their only bogeys on No. 16 at Shoal Creek. The Legends of Golf winner with Brad Faxon in April, Sluman matched his best opening round score on the Champions Tour.
A steady rain punctuated by heavy downpours forced the postponement of the first round of the LPGA Championship on Thursday in Pittsford, N.Y.
St. Jude Classic
Nathan Green -4
Davis Love III -4
Stuart Appleby -4
Glen Day -4
Harris English -4
Martin Flores -4