Hilton Head Island, SC (Sports Network) - Brian Davis fired a 6-under 65 on Thursday to grab a 1-shot lead after the opening round of the RBC Heritage.
Davis has experience at Harbour Town Golf Links, where he called a penalty on himself during a playoff against Jim Furyk in 2010. That infraction cost the Englishman the Heritage win, and he is still seeking his first PGA Tour victory three years later.
"It's good in this game to have a short memory, good or bad," said Davis. "I still have people stop me in the street or at the golf club or at airports. People do remember (the penalty), but for me I'm just trying to move on from that, and trying to win a golf tournament.
Kevin Streelman and Charley Hoffman are knotted in second place after a pair of 66s, while Johnson Wagner shares fourth place with a pair of notable Aussies.
Jason Day and Marc Leishman, who finished solo third and tied for fourth, respectively, at last week's Masters, both shot 67 on Thursday.
"Playing last week, it felt like there was pressure the whole week," said Day. "Coming into this week, it's pretty laid back, but it is a tour event and I want to do well. A bogey-free round was a good way to start."
Defending champion Carl Pettersson carded a 68 and ended 18 holes tied with a large group which includes world No. 20 Webb Simpson.
Davis began his opening round with a hatrick of pars and a bogey on No. 4, but he bounced back with a birdie on the fifth and then chipped in for another birdie on the sixth.
Those two gains kicked off a stretch of six birdies in seven holes, as Davis notched an outward 33, before opening his inward nine with birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 to reach 5-under.
"It's one of them things, (after the fifth hole) I left myself an easy, easy chip, and I played great golf after that," Davis said. "I was just playing golf. I wasn't worried about my score or about my misses, I was just playing."
Davis bogeyed No. 12, but he promptly rebounded with another gain on the 13th, then after a stretch of pars, he rolled home a 15-foot birdie putt on the 17th to reach 6-under. He parred the last to hit the clubhouse with the lead.
"Whenever you get that feeling, it's always a great feeling to have because it's enjoyable," he continued. "When you're worrying about where you don't want to hit it, which around this course you have to, it can weigh you down."
Hoffman briefly caught Davis at 6-under when he birdied the par-4 13th, but after three straight pars, he slipped to a bogey on No. 17 and fell into a tie for second.
NOTES: In 10 starts this year, Davis has more missed cuts (five) than made (four). His best finish this season is a tie for sixth at the Houston Open. ... If Day or Leishman win this tournament, it will mark the first time since 2010 that Australians won back-to-back weeks on the PGA Tour. That year, Day and last week's Masters champion Adam Scott won the Byron Nelson Championship and Texas Open, respectively.