Memphis (Tennessee): Struggling Indian golfer Arjun Atwal found himself in one of the best positions this season, sharing the third spot after a three-under 67 in the first round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic here.
At the TPC Southwind, Atwal had three birdies in first five holes on a windy day and thereafter he had two more birdies, on the 15th and 18th but bogeys on seventh and 17th prevented a higher finish.
Atwal, who has made only three cuts in 14 starts this season, trailed leaders Jeff Maggert and John Merrick by one shot. The duo shot four-under 66 each to share the first-round lead. US Open champion Rory McIlroy was two strokes back.
SY Noh, Atwal, Jeff Overton and JJ Henry were a stroke back. Atwal`s best this year has been tied 21st at Well Fargo Championship.
"I`ve been struggling all year, so not bad. I`ve actually started to hit it a little better the last few weeks I`ve been out. You know, just building on that. It`s a good score to have on this golf course," said Atwal after the first round.
Talking of the windy and blustery day, Atwal said, "It could lay down or gust at about 15. The ball could be in the air and gusts. You have no control over that. You know, it`s just really tough out there.
"This golf course is always a good challenge. It was a tough day. I didn`t play a practice round. I was playing the 36-hole qualifier at Germantown Country Club for the US Open."