HILTON HEAD -- The opening-round leaderboard at the Verizon Heritage read more like a wall of past champions than a first-round summary.
Justin Leonard and Davis Love III -- both of whom have won the Heritage -- sit atop a crowded group along with late-charging Lucas Glover, a former star at Clemson, after each shot a 5-under 66 in Thursday's first round.
Ten golfers are only one stroke back, led by former Heritage champion Stewart Cink. Nine others are within two shots of the lead, headlined by former Hilton Head Island resident D.J. Trahan. Defending champion Boo Weekley finished with a 69, three strokes back.
In total, 58 players shot rounds under par, taking advantage of an atypical day at Harbour Town Golf Links in which the wind remained relatively calm.
"It was a nice day, wonderful weather-wise," Leonard said. "It was nice to play without a whole lot of wind. It seems like it's been windy the first part of the week. And I certainly remember last year on Sunday, Monday, how windy it was."
Leonard established himself as the early leader after the morning rounds.
The 2002 Heritage winner shot 3 under on the front nine, though he nearly ruined that quick start by hooking his tee shot into the water on hole No. 10.
But two shots later, Leonard saved par and a quality opening round with a 40-foot chip-in.
"That was probably the biggest shot of the day, just to be able to make par there," Leonard said. "I had a nice easy chip shot, but still you don't count on chipping in very often. So that certainly kept some momentum going for today."
Leonard used that momentum to finish off his round with a birdie on the 18th hole.
Fellow leader Love took a different approach. He focused more on trying to block out past holes and putting more concentration into every shot, something Love said he's had difficulty doing recently.
His mind had no reason to be consumed by missed opportunities Thursday, as he shot a bogey-free round.
"I felt like I was playing 14 holes," Love said of his recent results. "I'm leaving, mentally just leaving, losing touch there for a few holes every once in awhile."
Love didn't lose his touch at all Thursday. He made five birdies, four of which came on the front nine. His comfort level with Harbour Town Golf Links -- he's won the Heritage five times -- sure didn't hurt his chances.
"Does it help five strokes a day? No. But it certainly helps a stroke here or there," Love said. "... It's a nice little edge. We've been through a bunch here. If you're comfortable in a place and you're comfortable with the way the greens are rolling and how to read them, it gives you a little bit more confidence."
Unlike most of his counterparts, Glover didn't emerge from the middle of the pack until later in his round. He played to even par through seven holes, but proceeded to make up for the slow start with five birdies out of the next nine holes to climb up the leaderboard and place himself in a tie with two former champions.
"I knew going out there that the scores were going to be pretty low," said Glover, who had an afternoon tee time. "I think Justin finished when I was on 2 or 3. And Davis, you just see him out there, he's going to play good here. And you keep up with him around here, you're doing something right because he's got it figured out."
Trahan provided an even stronger turnaround. After shooting a 3-over 38 on the back nine, his starting point, he managed to get off to a good start on the front nine with a birdie on hole No. 1. It was there, Trahan said, that he was able to gain confidence.
"I was just telling myself, 'Let's dig in. Let's play hard, and hopefully we'll get some more birdies,'" said Trahan, who's father, Don, is the former director of instruction at Harbour Town. "My hope was just to get it back to even or 1 under."
He did two better, getting to 3 under for the round after shooting the day's best score on the front nine, a 6-under 30.
Jay Williamson, contrastingly, raced out to 5 under with five consecutive birdies to open his round, which matches the best start to a round this season on the PGA Tour. Brian Davis nearly did the same, starting his round with four birdies.
"I already know what you guys were saying in here about me," Williamson said in the media room. "I've already found out that you thought it was a typo."
Williamson, who's never won on the PGA Tour in more than 300 attempts, wasn't able to better his score over the next 13 holes and played to 1-over par the rest of the way.
• Scores • 5C