IRVING, Texas – The first round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship is finished at the TPC Four Seasons Resort. Here are the updates as they happened on Thursday. Get the latest news, notes and more, and leave your comments below.
QUICK RECAP: ROUND 1
IRVING, Texas – Ryan Palmer, the hard-luck playoff loser a year at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, shot an 6-under 64 to grab the first-round lead Thursday at the TPC Four Seasons Resort.
Palmer leads by one stroke over two players each seeking their first PGA TOUR wins, Marc Leishman and Alex Cejka. Matt Kuchar, winner of THE PLAYERS Championship last week, is in a group at 4 under, while defending champion Keegan Bradley opened at 3 under.
Phil Mickelson, making his first start in this event since 2007, shot an even-par 70.
Last year, Palmer opened with a 65 and took the lead entering the final round. But he shot 72 on Sunday and was caught by Bradley, who won on the first playoff hole. The good vibes from a year ago obviously outweighed the bad ones on Thursday.
“Continuation from last year – that’s what’s cool about the whole thing,” Palmer said. “It was great. Felt great all morning, warm-up was great. I knew everything was going in the right direction.”
With benign winds, the TPC Four Seasons course was ripe for scoring. More than a third of the field finished under par or better. But the winds are supposed to pick up on Friday, which will make conditions much tougher.
“We had a perfect day,” Mickelson said. “There was no wind. You couldn’t ask for a better day. There are some low scores out there and plenty of birdies.
“I didn’t take advantage of it.”
LIVE UPDATES: ROUND 1 (all times ET)
7:38 p.m. – Andres Gonzales finished with a bogey and a 4-under 68. Not bad for his first round on the PGA TOUR this year.
7:17 p.m. – Andres Gonzales birdied the 17th with a putt from 18 feet and is now at 5 under with one hole to play. He’s the only player still on course who could catch Ryan Palmer.
7:05 p.m. – Keegan Bradley said the first 12 holes in his round, in which he was 1 over, were “reminiscent of the last three or four weeks, just right there, right on the edge, lip-outs and playing well and not getting much out of it. Then I had a nice explosion there to get a nice round under my belt.” Bradley went birdie-birdie-eagle starting at the 14th hole to get back under par.
6:47 p.m. – Ryan Palmer, after his 6-under 64 that puts him atop the leaderboard, said he drew on last year’s play (a playoff loss to Keegan Bradley) during Thursday’s round: “Definitely a comfort level there now.”
6:39 p.m. – Tough finish for 2010 champ Jason Day. He was 5 under through 16 holes, but bogey the 17th and double bogeyed the 18th to finish with a 68. “Two bad swings,” Day said. That’s it. Little peeved right now. Trying not to say anything stupid.”
6:17 p.m. – Ryan Palmer is the new clubhouse leader, finishing off a 64. The native Texan had a bogey-free round with six birdies. He finished on the ninth hole, while at the same time on the 18th, newly minted PLAYERS champion Matt Kuchar continued his good play by signing for a 4-under 66. Kuchar bogeyed his first hole but didn’t drop a shot the rest of the day.
5:56 p.m. – Alex Cejka has joined Marc Leishman as the clubhouse leader, having just signed for a 5-under 65. Cejka, who has made 259 career starts on the PGA TOUR without a win, is making just his fifth start of the season. In his previous four starts, he’s missed the cut twice, withdrew after the first round in another, and tied for 18th at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
5:52 p.m. – The defending champ has heated up. Keegan Bradley has gone birdie-birdie-eagle in his last three holes and is now 3 under on his round with two holes to play. He eagled the par-5 16th when he knocked his second shot from 241 yards to within 7 feet. Playing partner Jason Day, the 2010 HP Byron Nelson champ, had a tap-in birdie at the 16th and is now 5 under.
5:45 p.m. – Matt Kuchar now at 4 under after his second consecutive birdie, this one at the par-5 16th.
5:33 p.m. – Ryuji Imada is 4 under through his first 12 holes and it shouldn’t be much of a surprise. In seven previous starts in this event, Imada has shot par or better on the first two days in 11 of 14 rounds. Imada finished tied for third here last year.
5:25 p.m. – Newly crowned PLAYERS champ Matt Kuchar opened his round with a bogey, but since then, he has posted four birdies and is 3 under with three holes left in his round. Meanwhile, playing partner Padraig Harrington is going the opposite way – after getting to 5 under, he’s suffered a double bogey and a bogey and is now at 2 under.
5:06 p.m. – Ryan Palmer’s the first one to 6 under, having just birdied the par-3 fifth after hitting his tee shot inside 5 feet.
4:55 p.m. — Make that five birdies in his first eight holes for Andres Gonzales, who is now tied for the lead with Ryan Palmer and Marc Leishman.
4:29 p.m. – Andres Gonzales, making his first start on the PGA TOUR this year, is 4 under through his first seven holes. Gonzales is second on the Nationwide Tour money list this year, having won the Soboba Golf Classic Presented by Hub International.
4:18 p.m. – Jason Day has joined the leaders at 5 under after making a putt just inside 12 feet for birdie at the 10th hole.
4:15 p.m. – Ryan Palmer, the 54-hole leader here last year who lost in a playoff to Keegan Bradley, is playing well again at the TPC Four Seasons Resort. He’s a bogey-free 3 under through his first 10 holes and has hit every green in regulation thus far.
4:05 p.m. – Jhonattan Vegas after his 3-under 67: “Could have been a great round; just a few loose tee shots that didn’t let me take advantage of them on the par 5s and some of the short holes. I’m pleased with my game and will fix those mistakes.”
4:02 p.m. – Padraig Harrington has moved to 5 under through his first 10 holes and into a tie for the lead with Marc Leishman, who’s already in the clubhouse after a 65. Harrington is tied for seventh in Round 1 scoring average on TOUR this year, thanks mostly to the 61 he shot at the Transitions Championship.
3:50 p.m. – Jason Day and Padraig Harrington have made the biggest moves thus far in the afternoon wave. Both are at 4 under while still playing their opening nines. Defending champ Keegan Bradley is even par through eight holes.
3:22 p.m. – Padraig Harrington, making his first start in this event, is 3 under through seven holes. He opened with a bogey, but birdied the fourth and fifth holes with putts inside 10 feet. Then at the par-5 seventh, he holed out for eagle from 62 feet.
2:45 p.m. – A frustrated Phil Mickelson on his even-par 70: “I’m frustrated that I’m letting shots slide here or there and not capitalizing on some birdie opportunities. The course is in great shape. We had a perfect day. There was no wind. You couldn’t ask for a better day. There are some low scores out there and plenty of birdies. I didn’t take advantage of it.”
2:29 p.m. – Charley Hoffman entered this week ranked 100th on the PGA TOUR in driving accuracy and 98th in greens in regulation. But on Thursday, he hit 12 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens en route to a 4-under 66. “I was asking just about everybody for a tip or two,” Hoffman said. “Looks like I got it going, which is what you need when you’re down.”
2:20 p.m. – Not surprising, the 506-yard par-4 third, which has water running down the right side of the fairway, is playing as the toughest hole thus far. There have already been seven double bogeys-or-worse halfway through the first round.
2:10 p.m. – Jason Day is off to a nice start with consecutive birdies, including a birdie putt from off the green at the par-3 second.
1:47 p.m. – The threesome of Keegan Bradley, Jason Day and Rory Sabbatini – the last three champs of the HP Byron Nelson Championship – have just teed off to start their opening rounds. Click here to follow the threesome on Shot Tracker.
1:40 p.m. – Bill Lunde and Charley Hoffman have joined Scott Piercy at 4 under. Lunde opened his bogey-free round by holing out from 101 yards for eagle at the par-4 10th. Hoffman suffered his only bogey late in his round, at the par-3 17th.
1:33 p.m. – Scott Piercy is in the clubhouse at 4-under 66, one shot off the lead. Ranked in the top 30 on TOUR in strokes gained-putting, Piercy needed just 26 putts on Thursday.
1:32 p.m. – Jason Dufner hit 13 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens en route to his 3-under 67, a terrific performance from tee to green. “Hit it really good all day,” he told SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. But he needed 34 putts and made only one putt longer than 4-1/2 feet. “Wish my putting would get a little bit better,” he added.
1:23 p.m. – Ernie Els opened with bogeys on his first two holes – he found the water at the 11th — but battled back to shoot even-par 70. “Bit of a battle,” Els told SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. “Still had a lot of chances. It could’ve ben a lot better.” With no wind in the morning, Els said the TPC Four Seasons Resort course played “as easy as you’re ever going to see it.”
1:20 p.m. – Jason Dufner closed with a rush – three consecutive birdies to end his round – to finish with a 3-under 67.
1:18 p.m. – Charley Hoffman has moved to 5 under after consecutive birdies at the 15th and 16th holes.
1:16 p.m. – Marc Leishman, talking to SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, on his two eagles in the opening round: “Makes the rest of the golf course a little easier.” Leishman used a 2-iron to set up his eagle putt at the 16th; he only put that club in his bag last week at THE PLAYERS Championship. “It came in handy this week,” he said.
1:06 p.m. – The featured group of Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Adam Scott – all past HP Byron Nelson champs – have completed their first rounds. Mickelson and Els shot even-par 70s, while Scott shot a 73. Mickelson has a fairly uneventful round – just two birdies and two bogeys while hitting just four of 14 fairways.
12:41 p.m. – Marc Leishman has finished his round with a 5-under 65, which gives him the clubhouse lead. For Leishman, it’s just the third time in his last 31 rounds on the PGA TOUR in which he’s posted a score in the 60s. The 65 is also his lowest score on TOUR since he shot 65 in the opening round of the 2011 season opener, the Sony Open in Hawaii. That’s a stretch of 127 rounds.
12:26 p.m. – Louis Oosthuizen is trying to claw back from a horrible start. Starting his round off the 10th tee, the Masters runner-up this year suffered a double bogey when he found the water with his tee shot. He then bogeyed the 11th. After a birdie at the 14th, Oosthuizen finished his first nine with a triple bogey at the 18th when he twice found the water (with his tee shot and his third shot). But he bounced back with birdies at the next two holes and is 3 over with three holes left in his round.
12:18 p.m. – Marc Leishman’s two eagles in one round is the 25th time it has happened this year on the PGA TOUR. It happened twice at THE PLAYERS Championship last week – Luke Donald in the second round, Justin Rose in the final round.
12:11 p.m. – Marc Leishman has recorded his second eagle in the last six holes and has assumed the lead at 5 under. Leishman eagled the 306-yard par-4 11th when he nearly drove the green, then holed his second shot from the fairway from 45 feet. He then eagled the par-5 16th after hitting his second shot to within 8 feet and making the putt.
12:05 p.m. – Phil Mickelson, starting on the 10th tee, opened his first round with six straight pars. He then birdied the par-5 16th but gave the stroke back at the par-3 17th. After making the turn at even par, he birdied the par-4 first hole when he rolled in a putt from 15 feet, 9 inches. He’s now at 1 under with four holes to play. As for his playing partners, Ernie Els is even par and Adam Scott is 5 over. (For more on the threesome, click here)
Noon – Several players with early tee times have jumped out to nice starts, including Jhonattan Vegas, who is currently the leader at 4 under through his first 13 holes. Vegas, starting his round on the 10th tee, birdied four of his first five holes. He’s followed by several players at 3 under, including Chris Couch, Marc Leishman, J.J. Henry, Carl Pettersson, Bill Lunde, Charley Hoffman and Jonas Blixt.