A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier (golf tournament) kicked off on Thursday, and Webb Simpson stole the show. The PLAYERS champion put on a blistering display, notching 7 birdies and an eagle on his way to 61.
Simpson is in the midst of a bounceback season after suffering a couple of mediocre years. He already has six top 10s, including his PLAYERS win, and is well on his way to earning a spot on the Ryder Cup team. Putting has been key for Webb, improving to 8th in strokes gained in 2018 after being 88th last season. Leaderboard
Currently in second place behind Simpson is the South Korean, Whee Kim. He is a 5th year player on the PGA Tour but is still in search of his first career victory. He has runner-up finishes at the 2017 FedEx St. Jude and the 2017 Shiners Hospital for Children Open but has never closed the deal. Putting is usually his strong suit, but he used his irons to shoot 62 on Thursday. He finished 4th in strokes gained approach and 7th in strokes gained around the green.
Joaq This Way
Two shots behind Simpson is the PGA Tour rookie Joaquin Niemann. Niemann is only playing in his 8th PGA Tour event but has already experienced a lot of success. He has three top-8 finishes and a T-17 at last week’s Quicken Loans. The former #1 amateur has received a lot of attention recently and is living up to the hype. His ball striking is out of this world and his name is fantastic for newsletter headlines. A strong showing this week could earn him full status on the PGA Tour.
Other Leaderboard Notes
Sixteen players shot 66 on Thursday. Among them are defending champion Xander Schauffele, Phil Mickelson, Ryan Moore, and Brandt Snedeker.
Norman Xiong shot an opening round 69 in his first professional round. The powerful Xiong was second in the field in strokes gained off the tee but was let down by the flatstick on Thursday.
Smylie Kaufman withdrew with a wrist injury after shooting an opening round of 79. In his last 15 rounds, Smylie has only broken 75 two times. You read that right.
I’m Foxy, I’m The One Y’all Love to Chase
Ryan Fox is your first-round leader in Ireland at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Fox made six birdies along with one bogey at Ballyliffin Golf Club to shoot an opening 67. A strong group of players includes Robert Rock, Danny Willett and Lee Westwood (shoutout DJ Pie). Other notables include Rory McIlroy (70), Peter Uihlein (70), Paul Dunne (73) and Thomas Pieters (73).
Ballylaffin was incredible to watch on Thursday. The links course provided a stern challenge with fast conditions and rewarded players for good shots. Make sure to roll out of bed and watch some golf this weekend with coffee in hand! Leaderboard
The USGA ruled on Wednesday that Bryson Dechambeau’s use of a drawing compass to determine pin positions was against the rules. They decided that it was an “unusual device” that “assisted” him.
If this is an attempt for the USGA to stay in the spotlight, bravo. But in all likelihood, this is just the USGA getting it its own way yet again. Anywho, don’t be surprised if Bryson shows up to his next event with a microscope and bunsen burner. Full Story
Big Hitter the Llama
Former Texas A&M stand-out Cameron Champ is tied with Sebastian Munoz, the first round lead, on the Web.com Tour this week. Munoz was in the mix at the Greenbrier last year while Champ jumped on the scene with his insane ball speed at the U.S. Open. He leads the tour in driving distance at 339.5 yards and is currently in 32nd on the money list. Full Leaderboard
Kathrine Kirk is your first round leader in Wisconsin on the LPGA Tour. Also in the field is 13-year-old Alexa Pano, who opened with a round of 75. Leaderboard
Kingston Heath and Victoria Golf Club were chosen as future sites of the Australian Open. Full Story
A full hole-by-hole guide to Carnoustie can be found HERE as we prepare for the Open Championship.
The Palmer Cup will get underway on Friday. Meet the U.S. and International teams HERE.