CROMWELL ——Chad Campbell couldn't see the ball on the 16th green at TPC River Highlands on Thursday, and the lack of an ovation left him even more confused.
As he neared the pin, he grew more certain: The ball had gone in the hole.
Not only did Campbell's hole-in-one in the first round of the Travelers Championship help him to a 3-under-par 67, but it also gave him a little bonus. As part of a tournament promotion, Campbell won a $50,000 shopping spree from jeweler Lux, Bond & Green to use toward Roberto Coin jewelry.
It was the 30th hole-in-one in tournament history — Tag Ridings had one on the par-3, 158-yard 11th in last year's first round — but the first on the par-3, 167-yard 16th since Bo Van Pelt aced it in the final round in 2007.
Campbell used a 6-iron on the hole, which he said played at 167 yards with the pin in the front center of the green.
"It's always awesome," Campbell said. "They don't happen very often. I've played a lot of golf, and to make 10 of them [and two on the PGA Tour] — there's some people who play a whole lot and don't play any, so I'm definitely excited."
Captain: Tiger For Ryder
Asked if he was sure Tiger Woods would fall into the top-eight automatic point qualifiers for the team, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin said: "That would be correct. ... He's the best player in the world."
Pavin, who shot a 65 on Thursday, believes it's nearly impossible for Phil Mickelson not to make the team. "And I'm guessing that probably Jim [Furyk] and A.K. [Anthony Kim] are probably on the team as well mathematically," Pavin said.
Kelly Bounces Back
After stumbling in the final two rounds of the U.S. Open, Jerry Kelly had a long phone conversation call with his coach, Jim Schuman, Sunday night. Two days later, he spent six hours on the practice facility at TPC River Highlands.
The result was a 66, leaving the former University of Hartford golfer among the leaders at the Travelers Championship.
"I feel like I got the work done that I needed to," Kelly said.
After finishing 2-under on the front nine, he bogeyed No. 13 before birdies on 14, 15 and 17. So he ended the day in contention, just as he was after the first two rounds last week.
"I've been there a lot this year," Kelly said. "I haven't finished in the hunt, but I feel really good about the way I've played all year. If I can just be Steady Eddie, something's going to happen."
Kelly, who grew up playing hockey in Wisconsin, is still glowing from the Stanley Cup victory by his beloved Chicago Blackhawks. He is friends with Chicago forward and fellow Madison native Adam Burish.
"I've got my [Stan] Mikita [No.] 21 signed hat I wear out here all the time," Kelly said. "I love them. It's just fantastic, so cool for those guys and the franchise. ... I just hope I'm home when [Burish] brings the Cup to Madison."
Perry Fighting Fatigue
Defending champion Kenny Perry blamed fatigue for his 1-under par 69.
"I just played poorly," said Perry, who played in the morning. "I'm physically tired, I'm mentally tired, I didn't have my legs under me the first nine holes. I kept hitting snap hooks off the tee. Just couldn't get through the golf ball. … Hopefully, I'll have a little energy [today]."
Perry tied for 33rd at the U.S. Open last week. He is still recovering from the mental drain of battling the conditions at Pebble Beach, and the cross-country trip to Connecticut didn't help.
"Coming from Pebble Beach last week, it's tough, a tough adjustment. Coming off a major championship that beats your brains out," he said. "It's a very difficult venue. But this [course] is one of my favorites I play on tour. To play poorly and be only 1-under, I'm pretty happy with it."
Singh In The Hunt
Vijay Singh, in his seventh tournament appearance, had an eagle on 13 and a double bogey on 14 en route to a 65. "I played very solid golf, hit a lot of fairways, missed one or two greens but putted very well," he said. "I think my strongest point today was my putting." ... Stewart Cink, winner in 1997 and 2008, on his 70: "I made a couple of dumb mistakes, and it cost me a couple of bogeys here and there. … I'm not very happy with even par, but it's early and it's not the end of the world, so I can come out here [for the second round] and play almost the same type of round and shoot 5- or 6-under par. That's what I'm hoping for." ... Fairfield native and 2006 winner J.J. Henry finished the first round with a 71. "I'll take the positive in the fact that I feel like I'm playing really well," said Henry, who is tied for 99th. "I feel like I putted pretty darn good. It was just one of those days where it was all around the hole and just didn't want to go in." ... Dustin Garza, who said the course "is not very hard" after Monday's Aetna Pro-Am, shot a birdie-free 16-over 86 in his first professional round, including an 8 on the par-4 10th and a 10 on the par-5 13th.
Paul Doyle and Tom Yantz contributed to this notebook