DANIEL ISLAND - If Michael Sim didn't have good vibes entering this week's Nationwide Tour Championship - and as the leading money-leader for 2009, he should have - he certainly does now.
Sim, whose $536,142 is a single-season record, positioned himself to add significantly to that total - not to mention enhancing even further his position on the 2010 PGA Tour - with Thursday's 8-under-par 64 at The Daniel Island Club's Ralston Creek course.
His course-record score gave him a three-shot lead on fellow Australian Andrew Buckle and Duluth, Ga.'s Justin Bolli. But it was more than that.
Sim, who turns 25 today, was 1-over-par after three holes before blitzing the 7,446-yard Rees Jones design with eight consecutive birdies..
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"I probably hit four (approach) shots in a row that were almost tap-ins," he said of his birdies at Nos. 4-7. "I made a couple of 30-footers, too.
"I look up, and I'm 7-under through 11. I was kind of in a zone."
His birdie run ended at the par-3 12th hole when his lag putt from 30 feet stopped just short.
"The run had to stop sooner or later," Sim said with a shrug.
His torrid round notwithstanding, Ralston Creek didn't roll over for everyone. Thirty-two of the elite 60-man field broke par, but only four were within four shots of the lead.
Sim's performance was unexpected only in degree. He won three times this year to earn a "battlefield promotion" to the PGA Tour, but because his third win came during the season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs, access to PGA Tour events was minimal; hence his decision to play this week.
O'Hern leads Frys.com Open. At Scottsdale, Ariz., Australian Nick O'Hern cruised to a career-low 63 and the first-round lead in the Frys.com Open. O'Hern, who finished at 7 under, putted nine times while posting a 28 on the par-35 back nine at Grayhawk Golf Club.
- PGA scores in Scoreboard, C8