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Ian Poulter caught fire with the flat stick during round one of the Workday Charity Open, styling a 4-under-par 33-35=68 to sit three shots off the pacesetter, Collin Morikawa.
The Englishman got his day started on the back nine and knew it was going to be a good day when he rolled in a 14-footer to save par and followed it up with a birdie conversion from 12'11 at the par-5 11th. He would go on to splash home four more putts from outside of nine feet before his day was done. Overall, he gained 3.788 strokes with the putter, best in the field. That should come as no big surprise for Poulter fans considering he's gained strokes putting in 11 of his last 12 measured events. The 44-year-old is making his sixth appearance at Muirfield Village Golf Club and his best finish at the Nicklaus Design is a T30 back in his 2005 Memorial Tournament debut.
Added Yesterday 9:09 pm (EST)
Tim Wilkinson put his short game to work on his way toward a 4-under-par 33-35=68 in round one of the Workday Charity Open, good for a spot inside the top 10 after day one.
Wilkinson was steady off the tee today as he piped 12-of-14 fairways but mustered up just 12 greens in regulation from there. Luckily, his short game was sharp as he ranked 5th in the field with 1.859 strokes gained around-the-green and gained another 0.746 strokes putting. The highlight was a chip-in birdie at the par-4 17th but he also left quite a few more of his around-the-green shots at tap-in range. The Kiwi has gone 0-for-2 since the restart but that certainly looks to be changing this week as he heads into Friday four shots clear of the current cutline. Wilkinson's only other appearance at Muirfield Village resulted in a T53 back at the 2008 Memorial Tournament.
Added Yesterday 9:01 pm (EST)
Playing in his first event since withdrawing from the Travelers Championship, Graeme McDowell torched Muirfield Village Golf Club with a 4-under-par 34-34=68 during round one of the Workday Charity Open.
G-Mac withdrew from the Travelers Championship two weeks ago after his caddie, Ken Comboy, tested positive for COVID-19. The extra two weeks did not impact his iron play as he gained 4.166 strokes on approach today, pelting 15 greens along the way. That approach figure was good for second best in the field on Thursday, behind only Brendan Steele. As for McDowell, he swallowed a bogey and a double bogey today but made up the difference with seven birdies. All of them were converted from inside of 14 feet. This is surprisingly his first appearance at Muirfield Village Golf Club, likely due to scheduling conflicts.
Added Yesterday 8:48 pm (EST)
Gary Woodland arrived with some off-the-tee troubles but made a driver change that appears to have paid off, at least for one round at the Workday Charity Open.
Woodland is one of the best in the world with a driver in his hands when he's playing well. That wasn't the case recently, as he's lost 9.2 strokes off-the-tee in three starts since returning from the COVID-19 break. Eric Patterson of The Score reported that Woodland switched back to a Ping driver today and the result? He led the field in strokes gained off-the-tee (+1.774). His scorecard didn't show the same improvement as the rest of his game let him down today, stumbling toward a 1-over 73 to sit in T89 after 18 holes. He currently sits one shot outside of the cutline but has to be feeling good about the improvements with his driving.
Added Yesterday 8:36 pm (EST)
Added Yesterday 8:36 pm (EST)
Aaron Wise rallied during round one of the Workday Charity Open, firing a 5-under-par 32-35=67 to grab a share of third place at day's end.
The Oregon product started on the 10th and got his day off on the right foot when he stuffed his 162-yard bunker shot to 8'2" and rolled it in for a birdie. He three-jacked the following hole for bogey but that would be his final blemish of the day. The 24-year-old split just five fairways today but didn't get too far offline because he was still able to manage 15 greens in regulation. He walked off the course gaining more than a stroke in each of the tee-to-green categories. It will be the first time in his career that he's accomplished that feat. Wise entered the week with an 0-for-2 record at Muirfield Village but the third time might be the charm.
Added Yesterday 8:00 pm (EST)
Collin Morikawa bounced back from his first missed cut as a pro with a sensational 7-under-par 32-33=65 in round one of the Workday Charity Open, good for sole possession of the lead after day one.
The Cal-Berkeley product circled just five birdies over 36 holes at TPC River Highlands to miss the cut in his most recent start (endless his remarkable 22-cuts-made streak). He's already eclipsed that birdie figure this week, trading six birdies and an eagle with one bogey at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Morikawa's out-of-this-world iron play was on full display from the get-go. He stuffed approach after approach to give himself 10 scoring looks from inside of 13 feet today. The highlight was his 245-yard approach at the par-5 fifth which set up a kick-in eagle from 3'6". The 23-year-old arrived with negative strokes gained approach in three straight rounds. It was the first time in his pro career he showed that kind of slump but rebounded in a big way today by gaining 3.633 strokes over the field in the approach department. Amazingly, he already has four other measured rounds that are better than that on his resume. He will now sit on the first-round lead for the second time in his TOUR career. The last one came at the Sony Open in January where he'd go on to finish T21 by week's end.
Added Yesterday 4:34 pm (EST)
Zach Johnson tossed together a 5-under-par 34-33=67 during round one of the Workday Charity Open, placing him just one shot off the early pace set by Adam Hadwin.
ZJ is no stranger to success in mid-July. He's made over $3 million in career earnings at the John Deere Classic (the event in which the Workday is replacing) and also won the 2015 Open Championship. He's trying to add another summer win to his resume this week and it so far so good as he lit up the scoresheet with his flat stick. Johnson walked off the course gaining 3.4 strokes putting today. He got the job done with a stream of mid-range putts. He made nine putts from outside of five feet today. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that he swallowed just one bogey despite missing seven greens. With thick rough around the greens this week, ZJ will need to start pelting more greens if he wants to keep the squares of his card.
Added Yesterday 4:04 pm (EST)
Nick Taylor put on a ball-striking clinic en route to a bogey-free, 5-under-par 35-32=67 during round one of the Workday Charity Open, one shot off the early lead set by Adam Hadwin.
Taylor entered the week with just one sub-70 round in six rounds played at Muirfield Village Golf Club but he eclipsed his previous best here by two shots today. He managed that score despite losing nearly a stroke to the field putting. Luckily, the Canadian was dialed in from tee-to-green as he gave himself nine scoring chances from inside of 15 feet. The most notable was an eagle splash from inside of three feet which was set up by a superb approach from 270 yards. That came directly on the heels of a 32'10" birdie bomb at the par-4 10th. Taylor walked off the course gaining 3.4 strokes on approach which would go in the books as one of his five best-measured rounds on TOUR. Interesting enough, one of those was a +3.7 SG Approach during round one of the 2017 Memorial Tournament, also played at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
Added Yesterday 3:48 pm (EST)