PGA DFS Podcast - The Tour Championship
Mike Alexander and Donald Remington preview the PGA Tour Championship
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Ben Martin took on the Stadium Course at PGA WEST during round one of The American Express and walked away with a bogey-free, 5-under-par 35-32=67 which puts him in a share of sixth place on the live leaderboard.
Martin was not consistent with his approaches today but made the most of his good shots. He landed just 13 greens in regulation but still managed to gain 2.443 strokes approaching-the-green at day's end. How did he manage that? Three of his missed greens still ended up within 25 feet of the hole. As for his good shots, he gave himself seven birdie looks from inside of 12 feet today, evidence of his strong iron play. Martin also chipped in from 19'10" at the 16th. Playing his seventh PGA TOUR event since the mid-season shut down last year, this is the first time since that restart that he's positioned himself inside of the top 10. Gamers should watch closely to see if he can follow it up with another good round tomorrow. Looking at his AmEx history, Martin's career-best finish in the Coachella Valley is a T29 which was during last year's edition.
Added Yesterday 8:00 pm (EST)
Playing the Nicklaus Tournament Course, World No. 205 Andrew Putnam walked off with birdie toward a 5-under-par 34-33=67 in the first round of The American Express to sit T6 on the leaderboard, three adrift of pace-setter Brandon Hagy.
The 31-year-old, who celebrates his birthday this coming Monday (Jan. 25th), landed 10 (of 14) fairways and 12 greens in regulation, registering 1.500 putts per GIR. He squared a lone bogey-5 at 13, outflanked by six circles at 5, 7, 11, 14, 15 and 18, three of those birdie-4s. This is Pepperdine alum's first time in the top 10 after 18 holes since T7 at last season's ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP 23 starts ago, where he ultimately finished T59 (68-72-73-70). He checked in this week 5-for-10 on the season with one top 25, a T21 at the stand-alone Bermuda six starts ago, and off consecutive missed cuts at Mayakoba and by four at last week's Sony on even-par 140 (71-69). The Phoenix resident is making his fifth AmEx appearance with three prior cashes and two top 25s, highighted by a best of T10 last year, which included a 69 in R2 on this course (67-69-65-69).
Added Yesterday 8:00 pm (EST)
Alex Noren tossed together a 5-under-par 33-34=67 while playing the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA WEST during round one of The American Express, staking out a spot just three shots off the leader, Brandon Hagy.
The Swede posted a T14 at the 2020 American Express, his tournament debut. Noren carded four sub-70 rounds that week to steady his way into the top 15 and it looks like more of the same this week as he traded six birdies with one bogey on day one. His lone blemish came at the par-3 17th when he found the greenside bunker off the tee. This is Noren's third fast start of the young season. He was T9 after R1 of the ZOZO (T17) and was T11 after R1 of The RSM Classic (T18). The 38-year-old will now turn his attention toward the Stadium Course for the remaining 54 holes of this event.
Added Yesterday 7:44 pm (EST)
Playing the Nicklaus Tournament Course, World No. 170 Maverick McNealy navigated a 5-under-par 32-35=67 in Round 1 of The American Express, good for T6 on the leaderboard, three shy of pace-setter Brandon Hagy.
This is the Stanford product's third appearance with one previous cash, a T37 last season, which included a 65 in R2 on this course (69-65-71-70). He arrived this week 4-for-7 on the season with four top 25s, highlighted by a season-best T12 at Mayakoba in his most recent start seven weeks ago, which featured a career-low 63 in R3 (70-71-63-66). The Las Vegas resident's career-best finish on TOUR in 47 events is a T5 at last season's 3-course AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (72-72-66-68). On 11 (of 14) fairways and 14 greens in regulation, he carded five birdies at holes 2, 4, 5, 7 and 18, a hole-out eagle-2 at 6, but took some gloss off with a double bogey-5 at 8, which definitely slowed his momentum after being 6-under through his first seven holes.
Added Yesterday 7:43 pm (EST)
Doug Ghim got his scoring machine started early at PGA WEST, styling a 5-under-par 34-33=67 while taking on the Stadium Course in round one of The American Express, sharing a spot in the sixth-place slot at day's end.
The Texas Longhorn product did all of his work from tee-to-green today. He striped 11-of-14 fairways and landed 15 greens in regulation. On top of the steady striking, he also gained 1.142 strokes around-the-green. Together, that was good for 4.81 strokes gained tee-to-green, second-best in the field so far. Of the 14 golfers at 5-under or better, Ghim was one of just four that played the Stadium Course today. That means he's in prime position after 18 holes but he'll need to keep his foot on the gas for three more days to take advantage of the fast start. Speaking of fast starts, this is already the fourth event this season where he's positioned himself at T11 or better after round one (Safeway Open, Bermuda Championship, RSM Classic). The next stage of development for this youngster is to start converting these fast starts into top-10 finishes. His best finish on TOUR is still just a T12 (2019 Byron Nelson).
Added Yesterday 7:33 pm (EST)
Playing the Nicklaus Tournament Course, World No. 149 Tyler Duncan fashioned a 5-under-par 33-34=67 in the first round of The American Express to sit T6 on the board, three back of leader Brandon Hagy.
This is the 31-year-old's fourth straight AmEx with a best among two prior cashes of T51 two tries ago, which was highlighted by a pair of 66s in R2 and R3, including at this course on Moving Day (73-66-66-71). He checked in this week 4-for-9 on the season with one top 25, a T23 seven weeks ago at Mayakoba (70-67-68-68) in his most recent action, while his three other cashes are all top 35s, including a major-best T34 at the 120th U.S. Open (Winged Foot). This is the Purdue alum's second time in the top 10 after R1 this season, joining THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK six starts ago, where he was T4 before fading to T28 (67-71-72-73). On 12 (of 14) fairways and 16 greens in regulation, he camouflaged a lone bogey-5 at 13 with six circles at 2, 7, 8, 11, 15 and 17, recording 1.625 putts per GIR.
Added Yesterday 7:30 pm (EST)
Michael Thompson kept a clean card at the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA WEST, cruising to a bogey-free, 5-under-par 33-34=67 during round one of The American Express which is good for a share of sixth place at day's end.
Thompson is making his sixth appearance at this event and arrives with a mixed bag of results (T54-T28-MC-T9-MC). Today he made it look easy by landing 11-of-14 fairways and pelting 15 greens in regulation. Thompson picked up four of his five birdies on the par 4s, not capitalizing on the par 5s today. Thompson entered the week off a pair of top 25s in Hawaii so his confidence is likely high as he turns his attention toward the Stadium Course which is where he'll play the remaining 54 holes.
Added Yesterday 7:20 pm (EST)
Playing the Nicklaus Tournament Course, World No. 321 Sam Ryder smoothed a bogey-free 5-under-par 34-33=67 in the first round of The American Express to sit T6 on the leaderboard, three in arrears of pace-setter Brandon Hagy.
This is the 31-year-old's fourth consecutive appearance with three previous cashes, including a best of T29 last year that featured a 68 in R3 on this course (69-70-68-67). He arrived this week just 1-for-8 on the season, a T52 at the stand-alone Corales seven starts ago, and his most recent of six straight missed cuts was by one at last week's Sony on 3-under 137 (68-69). The Stetson alum's career-low round is 9-under 62 at the Shriners two seasons ago (finished, 3rd), so he definitely has an affinity to desert golf. On 13 (of 14) fairways and 14 greens in regulation, he penciled five birdies at holes 5, 8, 11, 15 and 16, posting 1.643 putts per GIR.
Added Yesterday 7:03 pm (EST)