Close Field after Honda Classic First Round
Day 1 of the Honda Classic, which started on Thursday on the PGA National Golf Club Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, ended with all 141 players clustered within 20 strokes of one another.
They are sure to spread out more over the final three days, but the first-round results are an indication that there are plenty of evenly matched players in contention, so New Zealand punters can expect a close finish.
Danny Lee, one of only two New Zealand golfers in the tournament, finished Day 1 tied at 42nd, but still under par on -1. That leaves him only five strokes shy of the leaders; difficult to make up in three rounds, but not impossible.
Rising US Stars Top Day 1 Leaderboard
Cody Gribble from Dallas, Texas, and Columbia, South Carolina’s Wesley Bryan, both 26-year-olds starting to make their mark on the international PGA scene, finished tied in first place after Round 1.
Bryan’s best shot of the day was his birdie putt on the sixth hole, something very few managed, as it is one of two holes that have been switched to par 4 from par 5 for this tournament. He followed up by saving par on the seventh with a 12-foot putt, and a birdie on the eighth, putting 10 feet into the hole, allowed him to finish on -6.
Gribble looked like he’d sunk his round after taking three putts on the 16th hole to finish with a bogey, after initially making the green with his tee shot. However, he followed up with two birdies, one of them a par-3 on the 17th hole, to claw his way back to -6 and joint first.
He also secured a Champion Course record in his round, becoming the first player ever to land on all eighteen greens in regulation: meaning he reached every green while still at least two strokes under par for the hole.
Surprise Third-Place Finish at the Death
The final surprises of the day came from India’s Anirban Lahiri and German Martin Kaymer. Among the last players to tee off and finish Round 1, both managed a late -5, slipping in ahead of seven other players whose -4 had thus far had them a tied in third place. The disgruntled seven were subsequently shuffled down to fifth place.
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