Sean O'Hair wants to be known for his game, not how he was pushed into the professional ranks while still in high school by an overbearing father.
O'Hair shot a season-best 5-under 65 yesterday in the EDS Byron Nelson Championship, in Irving, Texas, to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Brett Wetterich and Anders Hansen after the tournament's first round without its namesake.
"You don't want to be known for other stuff," said O'Hair, 24, who lives in West Chester. "My life is in a great spot. I've got two beautiful kids I love to death and I've got a beautiful wife who does nothing but support me . . . I'm very fortunate to be in the situation that I'm in."
That wasn't always the case for O'Hair, who was pushed relentlessly by his father to be a star. He used to have to run a mile for every bogey and turned pro at age 17, a year before he finished high school.
Nelson, the champion golfer known as "Lord Byron" and in 1968 the first to have a PGA Tour event named after him, died Sept. 26. He was 94.
Coming off four consecutive top-15 finishes, O'Hair got off to a good start with birdies on the opening two holes at Cottonwood Valley, the easier of the two courses used for the Nelson's first two rounds.
He finished with seven birdies and two bogeys, the last on the par-3 17th after "the one bad swing of the day" left his tee shot in the bunker.
Before his last four tournaments, O'Hair started the season missing five of six cuts and tied for 56th at the Nissan Open.
"I went back to an old instructor of mine, and things are starting to click," O'Hair said. "Golf is just about confidence, and it's just going out there with the feeling I'm going to play well, and that just wasn't the case at the beginning of the season."
In another tournament: