Fowler bogeys the first. Not the start he wanted…but hey Gary Woodland bogeyed the first Thursday. Thomas Pieters (BOMBER) joins the names near the top of the leaderboard at seven under. Fowler launched his approach long but makes a great pitch up to the hole. Will have a short par clean up from there.
Ben Kern birdies his last hole to shoot 69 and sit at even for the event. Hoping he makes the cut! Tiger is in the fairway with another iron off the tee. Tony Finau has birdied all five of his holes to start today. Is that good? Meanwhile Tiger makes his par.
Back to our featured group. Jordan is in trouble on the par-5 17th after hitting it into the water but he almost holes his fourth shot to set up a potentially epic par from inside of five feet. Kisner and Woodland are three shots clear of the field.
I don’t know! But I thought it was interesting. The name of the game appears to be 1. Fairways and 2. Distance control with the irons. Sticking with Tiger but I think there’ll be plenty of variety among the leaders.
Birdie for Woods! He trickles that one down the hill and into the cup from 8-10 feet. Rory can’t match; his slides just past the top edge. Woods actually didn’t find the bunker; he was on a sideslope.
Bubba Watson has reached -2 early as well: Look out Dustin Johnson is making a run. He birdies 8 to move to -2. That’s three birdies in a row for the top-ranked player.
I don’t know Bellerive from Bel Air. (In fact I’m not sure how to pronounce it.) But I’m told the fairways are wider than traditional bomb-and-gouge tracks like Firestone. That means well-placed shorter drives should be rewarded with better lines to attack the greens. Don’t count the Zachs out just yet!
DJ does it again. Another great putt at 12 leads to yet another birdie. He’s now in sole possession of second place at -4 just one behind Fowler. Here’s a look at DJ’s long birdie make at 11: Check out what our own Alan Shipnuck had to say about the morning’s featured group of Tiger/JT/Rory:
Kevin Kisner has birdied three of his first four holes to get to -6 for the tournament — one shot back of Woodland’s lead. A bogey for DJ on No. 15 drops him to -2 for the tournament. No. 13 is a 172-yard par 3 that requires a full carry over a ravine. All three players are safely on the green but Rahm has the best look at birdie.
GREAT putt for TW for his second birdie in a row. He’s back to +1 on the day. JT taps in for par to stay at -3. Rory’s birdie attempt ends up just short and he taps in for par.
Not a terribly easy shot and he hits an okay one but it carries too much pace and he’ll be left with about 8 feet for birdie. Thomas is putting for birdie from the fringe and Rory has a little work left for birdie too.
Brutal three-putt from Spieth at the opener. Tiger had an early double too of course but that’s a rough start. Greens aren’t getting any smoother. Cool bit from Rickie on wearing yellow in honor of the late Jarrod Lyle. The outpouring of support has been great to watch.