There is a constant in each of our lives. Whether it is a family member, friend, pet or mentor, someone is there to help keep you steady. The golf world has a collective constant: Charles Howell III. Triple Sticks has been doing his thing on the PGA Tour since 1996, and he is back again at this week’s RSM Classic. He leads the field after an opening round of 64. Leaderboard
Thursday was the 1,812th round of Chucky’s career, but it was the first time he ever hit every green and every fairway (shoutout Justin Ray). He made 8 birdies and no bogies on his way to a 2-shot lead in the final fall event of the season. We know he has been near the lead before, but it has been a while since his last victory.
Charles Howell III has made over $35 million dollars during his PGA Tour career, but he has only won twice. His last event was more than a decade ago while George W. Bush was president. His consistency has kept him relevant for the last two decades, but there has been a recent drop in performance. His last top-5 finish on Tour was at the 2017 Mayakoba, but we all knew he would resurface again. Thursday was the first round of his career where he hit every fairway and every green; maybe it will lead to his first win in more than 10 years.
J.J. Spaun and Austin Cook are the two players closest to the lead of CH3. Cook is the defending champion of this event, so he clearly has good memories on Sea Island. Aaron Wise was the only thing standing between Cook and Rookie of the Year, so you know he is hungry for more in his sophomore season. Spaun is just the best. He is a really fun personality but is still searching for his first win. There have been many weekends where he has been in contention, so don’t be surprised if he hangs around well into Sunday.
Other Leaderboard Notes
Resident senior and tournament host Davis Love III shot a very strong opening round of 67 to get himself into the conversation. DL3 doesn’t play that much anymore, and his last top 10 was more than a year ago.
Jason Gore is back! He has missed the cut at fourteen of his last seventeen events dating back to 2016, while withdrawing in two of the other three. He shot an opening-round 68 to tie with the likes of Patton Kizzire, Cameron Champ and Peter Uihlein.
LSU freshman Garrett Barber shot an opening-round 71 to currently sit within the cut line. Barber teamed up with Texas’ Cole Hammer to win the USGA Four Ball over the summer and has one top 5 so far this fall semester for the Tigers. He has even had success on this golf course with his Jones Cup Junior victory.
Wesley Bryan has gone full Smylie Kaufman...you never go full Smylie. Wesley has missed fourteen cuts over his last twenty-two events and withdrew after an opening 78 on Thursday. He is clearly going through some things, so hopefully a few months off will do him good.
The Francesco Show
Englishman Jordan Smith and Spaniard Adrian Otaegui lead the way through one round at the Dubai Desert Classic. The duo each shot 66 on Thursday to take a 1-shot lead into the weekend. Jon Rahm and Danny Willett are one shot back, and Race to Dubai leader Francesco Molinari is just two shots behind. Only Molinari and Fleetwood can win the season-long race, but Fleetwood needs to win and then get some help from Franky. Tommy lad is only one shot behind his Ryder Cup partner at the moment, but it would take a horrendous weekend from the Italian Stallion for Tommy to win the title. Leaderboard
Shotgun Start: More Match details, Dunlop Phoenix intel and an Andy rant on amateur status
It’s Friday! Brendan and Andy react to the announcement of The Match’s broadcast team, which will feature notable golf heavyweights Samuel L. Jackson and Charles Barkley. Brendan gives a short review of the 24/7 show and what it did or did not reveal about what we may see in Vegas. Then we run through some early action from around the globe, marvel at the consistency and longevity of CH3 and DL3, and discuss some fascinating intel from our Japanese source about the Dunlop Phoenix setup. Before we close with Flashback Friday, Andy goes on a rant about John Peterson announcing that the USGA said he’ll get his amateur status back in four years. Here’s hoping a Peterson v. Johnson match is in our future at the Mid-Am. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify
Amy Olson leads after one round at the LPGA’s final event of the season, the CME Group Tour Championship. Olson opened with a 63 and holds a 1-shot lead. Leaderboard
At the time this was written Matt Kuchar leads the Aussie Open, midway through the 2nd round. Leaderboard
Brooks Koepka and Emiliano Grillo are in the mix at the Dunlop Phoenix Open in Japan. Leaderboard