Godfrey Leads US Amateur After Record Round
Godfrey fired a seven-under-par 63 at East Lake Country Club in Atlanta, GA to break the U.S. Amateur record for lowest 18-hole score in a qualifying round. Phil Mickelson established the previous mark of 64 at Meridian Golf Club in 1990 and Hank Kim matched it at the TPC at Sawgrass in 1994.
Godfrey's 63, which included three straight birdies at the start, also tied the course record at East Lake set by Vijay Singh at the 1998 Tour Championship.
'If you would have told me I would shoot a 63 yesterday, I'd say you're crazy,' said Godfrey, who is appearing in his first U.S. Amateur after failing to qualify in four previous attempts. 'I'm just hoping to reach match play. It's rough out there playing with these college kids.'
The second and final round of stroke play will be held Tuesday, after which the low 64 scorers from the starting field of 312 advance to the match-play portion of the competition.
The 36 holes of stroke play are divided between the 7,091-yard, par-70 East Lake layout and nearby Druid Hills Golf Club, which at 6,561 yards and a par 72, played much easier than East Lake on Monday.
Of the 77 players who finished the day at or under par, only 21 played at East Lake. The East Lake course will host all five days of match play, including Sunday's 36-hole final.
Lucas Glover, 21, of Greenville, South Carolina, shot an eight-under-par 64 Monday at Druid Hills.
'My goal was not to make any bogeys, and I didn't,' said Glover, a two-time All-American at Clemson University.
Opening with a 64 at East Lake was James Driscoll, last year's U.S. Amateur runner-up, who was a teammate of Glover's on the U.S. Walker Cup squad that lost to Great Britain and Ireland last week at Sea Island, Georgia.
Driscoll, who was 0-3 in his matches versus GB&I, was pleased to rebound with a solid round on Monday.
'I felt great,' he said. 'I wish I was a little more solid on a couple holes there on the back nine, where I hit some weak shots but made up for it with my short game. But I was glad to see my short game was there to back me up when I didn't hit a great shot.'
Defending champion Jeff Quinney, who sank a 30-foot birdie putt on the 39th hole to defeat Driscoll in the final last year at Baltusrol in New Jersey, carded an even-par 72 at Druid Hills.
Seventeen-year-old high school junior Ty Tryon, who indicated last week that he would turn pro after the U.S. Amateur, recorded a pair of double-bogeys on East Lake's front nine Monday en route to a 10-over-par 80.
'It was just a tough day,' Tryon said. 'If I missed a shot, I got burned for it, and if I hit a good shot, I didn't get anything for it.'
Tryon became the youngest golfer in 44 years to make the cut in a PGA Tour event after he Monday qualified for the Honda Classic in March. Only 16 at the time, he finished the event in a tie for 39th.
He also played in last month's B.C. Open on a sponsor's exemption, shooting a65 three days and wound up tied for 37th.
First Round Results
(e-East Lake, d-Druid Hills):
Robert Godfrey,Clemson, S.C., 30-33--63e
Lucas Glover,Greenville, S.C., 32-32--64d
James Driscoll,Brookline, Mass., 31-33--64e
Ben Portie,Westminster, Colo., 35-31--66d
Chris Wisler,Dover, Del., 34-32--66d
Graeme McDowell,Northern Ireland,, 33-33--66d
Chez Reavie,Mesa, Ariz., 34-33--67d
Dave Womack,McDonough, Ga., 32-35--67d
Robert Hamilton,Carmichael, Calif., 32-35--67e
Oliver Wilson,England,, 35-33--68d
Daniel Summerhays,Farmington, Utah, 33-35--68d
Richard McEvoy,England,, 33-35--68d
Camilo Villegas,Colombia,, 33-35--68d
Kyle Coody,Plano, Tex., 36-32--68e
Brad Morris,Clay City, Ky., 34-34--68e
Jerry Courville,Milford, Conn., 32-36--68e
Scott Feaster,Columbia, S.C., 34-35--69d
Scott Wingfield,Las Vegas, Nev., 33-36--69d
Paul Simson,Raleigh, N.C., 36-33--69d
Matt Bettencourt,Modesto, Calif., 33-36--69d
Nicholas Thompson,Coral Springs, Fla., 34-35--69d
Brandon Daum,USAF Academy, Colo., 31-38--69d
Bubba Dickerson,Hilliard, Fla, 35-34--69e
Craig Steinberg,Los Angeles, Calif., 31-38--69e
Nick Watney,Fresno, Calif., 34-35--69e
Brooks Kelly,Sierra Vista, Ariz., 35-34--69e
Michael Sims,Bermuda,, 34-35--69e
Brock Mackenzie,Yakima, Wash., 35-34--69e
D.J. Trahan,Inman, S.C., 33-36--69e
Chan Wongluekiet,Bradenton, Fla., 35-35--70d
Kevin Na,Diamond Bar, Calif., 37-34--71d
Jeff Quinney,Eugene, Ore., 35-37--72d
Nick Cassini,Athens, Ga., 36-37--73d
Trip Kuehne,Dallas, Texas, 38-36--74e
Erik Compton,Miami, Fla., 37-38--75d
David Eger,Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., 35-42--77e
Ty Tryon,Orlando, Fla., 43-37--80e
Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.
While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.
He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.
"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."
Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.
"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.
Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.
"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"
The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.
Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.
"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.
Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.
"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."
Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.
Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.
"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."
Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.
"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.
When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.
The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.
The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.