School is officially in session, ladies and gentlemen.
Bryan Bigley and Braden Thornberry are tied for the lead after one round of Web.com Tour Q-School in Arizona. The duo each shot rounds of 62 on Thursday in pursuit of earning that coveted top spot in Q-School. They are being chased by dozens of others though, with twenty-four players shooting 66 or better during the first round. Leaderboard
First things first, Bryan Bigley is a 34-year-old who has played on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica and the Web.com Tour since 2014. He has held solid on theWeb for the last three seasons but only has three career top-10 finishes. His best finish last season was a T-6 at the BMW Pro-Am down in North Carolina.
Thornberry is a 21-year-old senior from Ole Miss who is playing as an amateur this week. He is a former NCAA individual champion and already has a top-5 finish on the PGA Tour, a T-4 at the 2017 FedEx St. Jude Classic. He also qualified for the 2018 U.S. Open and finished in the top 25 at the North Mississippi Classic on the Web.com Tour. Needless to say, he has some serious game, and we would venture a guess that he will not be returning to school next semester.
They each got off to blistering starts on Thursday with bogey-free 62s. Bigley made a “conventional” 62 with birdies and an eagle spread throughout his round, while Thornberry got hot on his back nine and birdied seven holes in a row.
Just behind the leaders is a trio at 63; Andy Zhang, Michael Gligic, and friend of the program Vince India. Zhang famously qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open as a 14-year-old and recently played collegiately at Florida. Gligic is a Canadian who has played on the Mackenzie Tour for the last decade while also dipping his toe in the Web.com waters in 2017. India graduated from Iowa and has mainly played on the Web.com for the last few seasons. He did qualify for two PGA Tour events last season and notched his first career made cut in the Dominican Republic.
Also in the top 10 are college standouts Dylan Meyer (Illinois), Doug Ghim (Texas), and Norman (Xiong). Meyer and Ghim fired 64s on Thursday while Xiong was one back with a 65.
Oklahoma State product Jordan Niebrugge currently sits in a tie for fourteenth after an opening 66. Niebrugge finished in the top 10 at the 2015 Open Championship and was a member of the 2013 and 2015 Walker Cup squads.
Another intriguing name at 66 is Oscar Fraustro. Fraustro was a part of theinaugural PGA Tour Latinoamerica class in 2012 but has bounced around since then. He had his best Web.com Tour season last year, finishing 85th on themoney list.
Other notables include Monday-qualifier sensation T.J. Vogel (68), Lee McCoy (69), and John Oda (67).
The Mattress King formerly known as Louis Oosthuizen leads after one round down in South Africa. The 2010 Open champion shot an opening-round 62 to take a one-shot lead into the weekend. Louis has played a very light schedule in 2018 but does have two top-5 finishes in his last three starts.
Just behind King Louis is last week’s Euro Tour champion Kurt Kitayama and Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya. While back-to-back wins for Kitayama would be incredible, a win by a Zambian-born player would be a historic achievement. Muthiya actually played collegiate golf at the University of New Mexico and qualified for the 2006 U.S. Open. He won a Sunshine Tour event in 2016 and at 35 years old, he is looking for his first career European Tour win.
Shotgun Start: The worst golf club names of all time and Shark Shootout formats and teams we’d like to see
Almost no one watches the QBE Shootout, but it’s an event with a solid foundational concept and some good formats! Brendan and Andy review the 3 separate formats for the 3 separate days and ponder other two-person teams that could pump more life into a weekend that’s sans college football. They dive in on Q-School developments, which provokes a fun/agonizing Flashback Friday from Andy. Brendan opts to flash back to one of the oddest couples to ever play the Shark Shootout as well as Bryson’s face-on putting experiment (and subsequent freakout on the USGA when his club was ruled non-conforming). Finally, with manufacturers starting to tease and announce their new wares for 2019, they recall and chuckle about some of the worst-named clubs of all time. Listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify
Shoreacres has one of the best routings in all of golf, here's why. Full story
Alabama standout Davis Riley announced on Thursday that he will be skipping his senior spring semester in order to turn professional. Riley is one of the top players in the country and will try to lean on sponsor’s exemptions to gain status this spring. Full Story
The QBE Shootout gets underway on Friday. Tee Times
Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Freddy Couples and others paid tribute to President George H. W. Bush at his memorial service on Wednesday. Full Story