Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg shot 8-under 64 to lead Rickie Fowler by one shot after one round of the WGC-HSBC Champions. Here’s how the first round played out in Shanghai, China:
Leaderboard: Karlberg (64), Fowler (65), Daniel Berger (66), Russell Knox (66), Hideki Matsuyama (66), three others tied at 67
What it means: With eight of the top 10 players in the world in attendance this week, it’s No. 87 who is currently in the lead. Karlberg’s lone European Tour win came in the 2015 Italian Open. His best finish this year came in a runner-up showing at the BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour’s flagship event.
Round of the day: Karlberg, making his World Golf Championships debut, tied his lowest round in a European Tour-sanctioned event, matching the number he most recently shot in the first round of this year’s Italian Open. It could have been a personal best had he not bogeyed the par-5 18th. For the day, he recorded nine birdies and that lone bogey.
Best of the rest: Fowler had seven birdies and no bogeys. His 65 was his was lowest round in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event since February’s Waste Management Open. He did shoot 64, however, in the third round of the Men’s Olympic event in August. Knox, meanwhile, is the defending champion. He shot no worse than 68 last year to earn his maiden Tour title, in his first WGC event.
Biggest disappointment: Reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Dustin Johnson had only one birdie in an opening, 2-over 74. But he was still four shots better than Patrick Reed. Reed, a U.S. Ryder Cup hero who has a reputation for playing well overseas, had six bogeys, one triple bogey and three birdies.
Storyline entering Round 2: Which of the big names will emerge from the pack? Sergio Garcia is at 4 under. Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson are at 3 under. Rory McIlroy, playing with new TaylorMade metal woods, and last week’s winner Justin Thomas are at 1 under. In the no-cut event, there is plenty of time to make up ground.