Zach Johnson stood behind the fourth green looking at his club and then the ball that rolled within 4 feet of the hole.
“I got lucky,’’ Johnson said about his second shot on the 244-yard par 3 - his 13th hole Thursday - after his tee shot went through the green and stopped in a clump of grass.
Three holes later, Johnson was so deep in a greenside bunker that he couldn’t even be seen from the other side of the green until he popped up to watch his blast over the ridge to 2 1/2 feet from the cup.
Those par-savers were part of a bogey-free 6-under-par 64 that gave him a one-stroke lead after the first round in the Colonial at Forth Worth, as 20-30 mile-per-hour winds whipped through the big oak trees lining the fairways.
Jason Dufner, rookie Harris English, Tom Gillis, and Kyle Reifers were tied for second.
Dufner won the Byron Nelson Championship last week, and both of his PGA Tour victories have come in the last four weeks. He started at Colonial with three consecutive birdies, was 5 under after a 10-foot birdie putt at the 174-yard eighth hole, then overcame two bogeys in a three-hole stretch.
Johnson opened with a 40-foot birdie putt at the 396-yard 10th hole on way to his 13th consecutive under-par round at Hogan’s Alley. He set the Colonial tournament scoring record with his 21-under 259 in 2010, when he had a pair of 64s in his last PGA Tour victory.
After hitting into a greenside bunker at the 435-yard 12th, he blasted to 9 feet to save par.
“The big putt that got me going,’’ he said. He then had four consecutive birdies, a span that included two par 3s and all the putts between 14-21 feet.
English, a winner last year on the Nationwide Tour as an amateur, has made 11 of 14 cuts in his first season on the PGA Tour.
European - Peter Lawrie and David Drysdale each shot 6-under 66 at the BMW PGA Championship, leaving frustrated Rory McIlroy and his high-ranking rivals trailing after the first round in Virginia Water, England.
McIlroy, the world’s top-ranked player, had five bogeys and a double bogey in his round of 74 to go with three birdies and an eagle. On the par-5, 12th he hurled his club after a poor provisional shot, which came after he sent his second shot out of bounds en route to a bogey 6.
Champions - Roger Chapman - who has only played in one European Senior Tour event this year - shot a 3-under 68 to take the first-round lead at the Senior PGA Championship in Benton Harbor, Mich.
John Cook was a stroke back.
Four-time champion Hale Irwin shot 71 - a solid score that puts him in position to contend. Irwin last won the event in 2004.