I’m surprised by the variety of big and short hitters at the top. DJ Rickie Woodland Day … and ZJ Gay and Kisner? Looks like Bellerive is more than a bomb-and-gouge setup which is what you want at a major.
Jon Rahm’s ball hit a spectator’s head and actually got a favorable bounce into the first cut. The man is being tended to by medics but wished Rahm well on his round. An already very sweaty Jon Rahm loses his drive to the right-side rough and Rose finds the fairway. We’re off!
Rory hits a decent approach to the left fringe about pin high. JT hits his shot to about 20 feet from the first cut and Tiger sticks another good one to about 10 feet for birdie. Tiger goes with driver — and finds the fairway! Woo! Rory follows suit and JT finds the first cut on the right.
A near miss for Rory’s birdie and Tiger follows suit coming up just short. JT also comes up short from the fringe and taps in for par. So ho-hum on No. 3 for our trio. No. 3 is playing 153 yards today. TW hits a safe shot to about pin high 20 feet from the cup. JT takes a more aggressive line and ends up just off the green on the fringe. And Rory hits a safe shot like Tiger also 20-25 feet from the hole.
Alright next up on 62 watch is Charl Schwartzel! 7 under through 16 and playing a par 5. Kisner bogeys the 9th and Gary Woodland makes par. Woodland -10 Kisner -9 Koepka -8 DJ -7. Might be the last two tee times tomorrow.
Justin Rose converts his first birdie of the day to get to -4 only two shots back of the lead. Rahm and Spieth miss and settle for pars. Our featured group meanwhile has three nice looks at birdie on No. 14. Gary Woodland just bogeyed No. 14 so there’s now a three-way tie for the lead at -6: Woodland Kisner and South Africa’s Brandon Stone.
Kevin Kisner birdied his first hole (No. 10) to get to -4 for the tournament. Justin Rose is the only one to find the green on No. 1 as Spieth and Rahm come up short. Tournament leader Gary Woodland is even par through his first hole today to remain -6.
A really good look from Tiger comes up just a couple rotations short of falling at No. 7. Rory scares the hole as well and JT slow-mo horseshoes his putt. More importantly Rickie Fowler just finished up at 18. He’s in the house with a five-under 65 and is the clubhouse leader by three.
Although guys aren’t exactly testing the major championship scoring record out here it’s an incredibly bunched leaderboard. Only two players of the 100-plus on course are worse than six over — in the current conditions Bellerive doesn’t have any crazy teeth. Hard to make birdies? Maybe. But no problem sticking around par for most of the field.
Koepka birdies the par-5 8th and he’s now eight under total and in third. Stone is in with a 68 but he’s six under for the week and T5. Kuchar finishes one over for the week and likely to miss the cut. Bubba Watson shoots 78 and will absolutely miss the cut.
Rahm just misses his birdie try on 1. He’s run a lot of putts close today. Par for him Rose pars too. Spieth lips his birdie try. He stays at one under. Jordan Spieth sticks it on the 1st hole his 10th of the day and he’ll have a look at birdie to get to two under.
Okay let’s take stock of the leaderboard shall we? Rickie Fowler just wrapped up a presser in which he was understandably upbeat after opening with a five-under 65. There’s nobody at four-under but there’s a whole squad at three-under: Cook Poulter Perez Day and Gay all posted rounds of 67 and three more — Cink Grace and Schniederjans — are on their 18th hole. Scores aren’t insanely low as some predicted but there are a bunch of guys in red figures.