PGA DFS Podcast - The Tour Championship
Mike Alexander and Donald Remington preview the PGA Tour Championship
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Webb Simpson tossed together a 5-under-par 33-32=65 during round one of the Sony Open in Hawaii, giving him a share of 10th place at day's end with 54 holes remaining.
Simpson started his week with steady driving, piping 12-of-14 fairways to make the rest of his job a bit easier. From there, he landed 16 greens in regulation and rolled in more than his fair share of long putts. In fact, he converted three times from outside of 28 feet today. He missed some mid-range opportunities but still walked off the course gaining 2.347 strokes with the flat stick. "I love the opportunity to hit wedges and short irons into greens. I feel like that's always been a strength of mine. Even when I don't seem to play well, those still seem to be pretty sharp and I have a lot of those opportunities here. I love when fairways matter. This week, the rough isn't as long as normal but fairways still matter a lot." His love for the layout is backed up with a 10-for-10 record at the Sony Open that includes seven top 20s.
Added Yesterday 11:45 pm (EST)
Si Woo Kim steadied a bogey-free, 6-under-par 31-33=64 during round one of the Sony Open in Hawaii, sharing a slice of fourth place after day one.
Kim made it look easy today with 15 greens pelted in regulation. He gave himself 12 birdie-or-better chances from inside of 18 feet and converted on six of them (all birdies). Only one of his six circles was knocked home from outside of eight feet, doing most of his work before he reached the greens today. Most noticeable was that he gained 1.109 strokes on approach today, a problem area for him in the past at Waialae Country Club. Playing his 11th round at the Sony, this is just the third time that he's gained strokes on approach. He will look to keep those irons dialed in as he preps for a Friday morning tee time.
Added Yesterday 11:31 pm (EST)
Daniel Berger put his foot on the gas during round one of the Sony Open in Hawaii, styling a 6-under-par 33-31=64 to sit just two shots off the early pacesetters at the top.
The Florida State product split just 7-of-14 fairways today but gained 2.417 strokes on approach from there to still land 14 greens in regulation. On the greens, he splashed home four putts from outside of 10 feet including a 21'8" birdie bomb at the 13th and a 29'4" birdie at the par-4 third, just after the turn. Berger has now gained strokes tee-to-green in 18-of-21 rounds played at Waialae Country Club and he should continue to use his stellar shot-shaping abilities to set up loads of birdies as the week goes on. His five previous starts at the Sony Open have all gone for top-45 finishes including a T13 in 2015 and a T14 during the 2018 edition.
Added Yesterday 11:04 pm (EST)
Past champ Patton Kizzire cruised to a 6-under-par 30-34=64 during round one of the Sony Open in Hawaii, placing him in a share of fourth place at day's end.
Kizzire started his day in style, rolling home a 20'3" birdie putt to increase his confidence meter early. His other highlights were a 147-yard approach that he stuffed to inches at the 6th and a 45'4" hole out for eagle at the par-5 ninth. The rest of his scoring was of the ho-hum variety. Kizzire arrived with some good vibes at the course as a past champion (2018) and a T13 in 2019. "I love the bermuda greens. I like the position-style golf course. There's some risk-reward out there that I enjoy and it's all in all, a fun golf course." The Auburn product also entered the week with some good form in the fall, ending the calendar year with finishes of T32 or better in each of his last four starts. Gamers should keep riding the resurgence from Kizzire until he cools off.
Added Yesterday 10:47 pm (EST)
Joaquin Niemann played his way into a playoff last week and showed no signs of fatigue during round one of the Sony Open in Hawaii, piling up an 8-under-par 31-31=62 to share the clubhouse lead alongside Peter Malnati and Jason Kokrak.
Niemann racked up 31 birdies last week at Kapalua, best in the field at week's end. He hopped islands over the last few days but kept his scoring machine dialed in. Today, he traded seven birdies and an eagle with one bogey. The eagle came in the form of a chip-in on his final hole of the day (par-5 18th). When asked what he's doing well he responded, "I think it's a little bit of everything. I hit the ball great off the tee. Hit my irons really close and made a lot of good putts." That checks out on the stat sheet as he gained more than a shot over the field in each of the four sub-categories of strokes gained. Today's round matches his career best on TOUR, 8-under 62 in R2 of the 2019-20 Greenbrier, an event which he'd go on to win. It will also be his third time leading or co-leading after round one: Last season's Sentry TOC: led by one, finished T5; 2018 Memorial: T1, finished T6.
Added Yesterday 10:30 pm (EST)
Jason Kokrak breezed through Waialae Country Club with a bogey-free, 8-under-par 31-31=62 which matches his career low on the PGA TOUR and puts him in a share of the lead after round one of the Sony Open in Hawaii.
The big hitter pelted 16 greens in regulation today but he also got some help from his putter. He rolled in five putts from outside of 11 feet including a 13'4" par-saver at the 1st, just after the turn, to maintain a clean card. He walked off the course gaining 2.89 strokes putting today. It matches his career-low round on TOUR (8-under 62 in R2 of the 2017 AT&T Byron Nelson). Currently tied with Peter Malnati and Joaquin Niemann at the top, this will Kokrak's third time leading or co-leading after round one of a PGA TOUR event (T8/2013 Humana Challenge; T19/2019 BMW Championship).
Added Yesterday 10:16 pm (EST)
Aaron Baddeley caught fire with the flat stick en route to a 6-under-par 33-31=64 during round one of the Sony Open in Hawaii, snagging a spot inside of the top 10 on the live leaderboard.
The Aussie split 9-of-14 fairways and landed 14 greens in regulation today. Both figures were better than the field average but it was the putter that delivered the final payload. He splashed home four putts from outside of 12 feet, including a 24'1" birdie bomb at the 17th. Which occurred immediately after saving par with a 12'6" putt. Baddeley walked off the course gaining 3.356 strokes putting, living up to his reputation as one of the top putters on TOUR. "Yeah, been working hard on my putting, something that I've been focusing on these last few months and it was nice to make a few today. Funny how when you make one, you feel like you can make them all." He arrived with a 4-for-4 record at the Sony Open that includes a runner-up finish (2003) and T15 (2004).
Added Yesterday 10:04 pm (EST)
Playing out of the morning wave and in his final start on a Major Medical Extension, World No. 263 Chris Kirk crafted a 5-under-par 31-34=65 in the first round of the Sony Open to sit T4 on the live leaderboard, three swings short of leader Peter Malnati.
The 35-year-old needs to earn 148.934 FedExCup points to meet the terms of his medical, which equates to a two-way T3. This is his 11th consecutive Sony with three previous top 10s, most recently a T10 in 2018. Two of those double as top 5s (back to back), including a best of solo 2nd in 2014 as the 54-hole leader by one (64-69-65-66). The Georgia alum checked in 4-for-5 on the season with one top 25, a T18 at the RSM two starts ago, and off a T46 at the Mayakoba six weeks ago (69-70-68-72). On 10 (of 14) fairways and 14 greens in regulation, he lost 0.172 strokes off-the-tee but gained 1.578 approaching and 0.374 around-the-green. Kirk rang up a walk-off eagle-3 at 18 (from 6'9") and six birdies at 3, 5, 8, 9, 12 and 14, taking some luster off with a triple bogey-7 at 16 (lost tee ball). He recorded 1.500 putts per GIR and 2.104 SG: Putting, converting three birdie chances from between eight and 10 feet, and also saved par two times from between five and 10 feet.
Added Yesterday 7:24 pm (EST)