Playing in the sandbox

John Peterson fires a first-round 65 and has a two-shot lead at the Wells Fargo Championship. After shooting a first-nine 33, he made back-to-back eagles on 7 and 8 to finish at -6. This season has been full of uncertainty for Peterson. Playing on a major medical exemption, Peterson has just 3 more events to earn roughly $320,000 to keep his card. He has also claimed that if he does not retain his card, he will retire from golf and move into real estate. This week could literally decide the rest of his life. Full scores

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In the Hunt

54 players are between -4 and E after the first round. Tied for second is the group of Peter Malnati, Tyrell Hatton, Keith Mitchell, Kyle Stanley and Johnson Wagner. Malnati, Hatton and Mitchell are all looking for their first PGA Tour wins. Wagner also made back-to-back eagles on Thursday. Per Justin Ray, that is the first time two players did that in the same round since 2009.

Headliners

Plenty of other big name players are in the field this week as well. Rory McIlroy (-3), Paul Casey (-2), Jason Day (-2), Tiger Woods (E) and Patrick Reed (E) all put together decent showings in the first round. Not too far behind are Brooks Koepka (+1), Phil Mickelson (+1), Rickie Fowler (+1) and Justin Thomas (+2).

And down the stretch comes bogies…

Known as “The Green Mile”, 16/17/18 are playing as the three most difficult holes in relation to par. Collectively there were 35 double bogies or worse and only 32 birdies. The combination of length and firm greens have proven to be a deadly combo thus far.

A couple of other changes have been talked about extensively this week. The first hole is playing 30 yards shorter, and the 4th is 15 yards shorter. Comparing the first rounds of the 2017 PGA Championship and Thursday’s round, they played 0.14 and 0.12 strokes easier respectively. What a remarkable difference...

Golfsixes

The European Tour’s Golfsixes will start on Saturday. This will be the second year this unique event will be held. The tournament is only two days, a round robin group style event on Saturday with knockout on Sunday. Read more about the event here.

Talking in the Sandbox

At Sand Valley’s opening day festivities earlier this week, I hosted a live podcast with Bill Coore and Jim Craig of the renowned Coore & Crenshaw design firm. We talked about their brand new par-3 course The Sandbox, their 18-hole Sand Valley design, working for the Keisers and more. Listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or the website.

Failure to launch

We launched some pre-sale gear in our last newsletter but forgot to add sizes. Talk about #growingpains. They are updated with sizes now so you can order B.Draddy Polos and Fairway & Greene ¼ zips and vests.

Quick Hooks

Augusta National began its renovation of the fifth hole this week. Full Story.

The NCAA Regional sites were announced on Wednesday. See where your team is heading.

From earlier this week our strategic breakdown of the 8th hole at Pinehurst #2