By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
LAS VEGAS — Ryan Moore was just a flagstick away from shooting 59. His ball hit the bottom of the flagstick on the 18th hole (his ninth), damaging the cup. Unfortunately, the ball rattled off the stick and came to rest some 30 feet away and Moore two-putted for par. If not for the flagstick, he might have shot 59.
Birdie barrage: TPC Summerlin was vulnerable in the opening round for a couple of reasons. The course’s main defenses are firm greens and wind. Neither was present in the opening round. The wind was never a factor and the greens were receptive. Temperatures have been near 100 degrees this week and the greens have required watering twice a day. Play was halted to give a few of the putting surfaces a drink during the opening round. With no wind and soft greens, the opening round became a birdie-fest.
Experience: Tim Herron will tell you the year has been a disappointment for him. He’s 147th on the money list with $400,000 in earnings. Herron is no stranger to the Fall Series and says he has one advantage over some players in the field: experience. The former University of New Mexico Lobo says it takes experience to know when to press for birdies during the Fall Series and when to be patient. He pressed the accelerator to finish his opening round — Herron one-putted the last four holes to shoot 63.
Vacation: Justin Leonard had not played tournament golf in six weeks and he loved the vacation. The Texan is usually in the FedExCup Playoffs and part of the Ryder Cup but not this year. Leonard has been frustrated by his 130th place on the money list with $495,000. So how did he spend the six weeks away from the TOUR? Leonard enjoyed time with his kids and took a pair of trips with his wife. He called it “awesome.” It was only the last week Leonard began practicing again and he came to Vegas with a clear mind and great attitude. He turned that combination into an opening-round 64.
Eagles: Chris Kirk had been in the situation before, he just could not remember when it previously took place. Suddenly, it came to him. Years ago, on his home course, he had another putt for back-to-back eagles. He made that putt and he did the same in the opening round. Kirk holed a 14-foot eagle putt at the 15th and now had one from 9 feet, 5 inches on the 16th. Once Kirk remembered making the back-to-back eagles at his home course, he knew he was going to do it again. He made it and shot 64.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
- Tim Herron
- Justin Leonard
- Ryan Moore