Only 10 players were able to break par at the Aronimink Golf Club.
"We got through the hard part this morning," said Dana Quigley, who shot a 1-over 71. "So it can only get better from now on."
"Anything close to par today is not a bad score," Wadkins added.
Wadkins played in the afternoon, when swirling winds made the course play even more difficult. But the biggest problems were mud balls or those in the rough.
"Getting a bad lie left me with mud on my ball, so watching the ball go all over the place, I made myself dizzy," said Jim Colbert, who opened with a 72. "You should've seen some of the mud balls we had out there."
Balls in the thick section of rough were nearly impossible to advance.
"If you can hit it 100 yards, you are lucky," Doyle said. "So the key is to put it in the fairway."
That is what the leaders did best. Wadkins hit 13 of 14 fairways, missing the first by six inches. He knew from practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday what the key to the tournament was.
"There is just no way around it," he said. "You have to hit a lot of fairways this week."
Wadkins got off to a terrible start, bogeying the second and third holes. But he played the next 11 in 3-under, making birdie putts at Nos. 4, 11 and 12.
"I kind of just slowed down and said, `Well, wait a minute, you've still got 15 holes to go,'" Wadkins said of his shaky start.
Wadkins will be looking for more of the same as he seeks his second Champions Tour victory and first major win in five tries. He was second here as a rookie last season, when he took the lead into the final round.