CROMWELL, Conn. — Zack Sucher found wrestling with chronic leg problems on the PGA Tour harder than wrestling alligators.

The 32-year-old from Alabama says he’s finally feeling healthy again after knee surgery sidelined him for 13 months following the 2017 Travelers Championship.

He shot a 5-under 65 in the rain Friday morning at TPC River Highlands and his 11-under 129 total held up in the afternoon sunshine for a two-stroke lead midway through the Travelers.

Sucher, who said he grew up in south Alabama doing “swamp stuff” like wrestling alligators, also played high school basketball. Chronic leg problems from that sport led to the surgery for a torn knee tendon and cartilage. Sucher worked his way back and is playing in just his fourth tour event this year.

“It’s nice,” he said. “First year I can remember in a long time where I’m pain free and it’s feeling really good.”

Chez Reavie and Keegan Bradley were two shots back.

Former Texas A&M star Bronson Burgoon was three shots back in a tie for fourth, following his opening-round 64 with a 68. Burgoon was tied for first after the first round.

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