Matsuyama, Van Pelt share lead at Memorial


DUBLIN, Ohio – With calm winds and soft conditions, Muirfield Village yielded plenty of low scores in the opening round. Here’s how things stand at the Memorial Tournament, where the defending champ tops the leaderboard again:

Leaderboard: Hideki Matsuyama (-8), Bo Van Pelt (-8), Russell Knox (-6), Jason Dufner (-6), Ryan Moore (-5), Harris English (-5), Kevin Kisner (-5)

What it means: The lowest scores of the day came from the afternoon wave, led by Matsuyama who defeated Kevin Na in a playoff a year ago. He continues his good play on this difficult track, joined by Van Pelt who has cracked the top 25 each of the last five years at this event.

Round of the day: Matsuyama opened with birdies on two of his first three holes, making the turn in 4-under 32. He then added four more birdies on Nos. 11-14 en route to a bogey-free 64, missing only one fairway and one green in regulation.

Best of the rest: Van Pelt has struggled this season but always seems to find his game at Muirfield Village. The veteran carded a career-best 10 birdies, including five in a row on Nos. 5-9 that propelled Van Pelt to a 6-under 30 on the front nine.

Biggest disappointment: Tiger Woods has won this event five times, but title No. 6 will likely have to wait after he opened with a 1-over 73. Woods was erratic off the tee for most of the day, turning in 4-over 40 before a trio of birdies brought him closer to par. He sits nine shots off the pace and outside the projected cut line.

Main storyline heading into Friday: A number of big names will look to make a move, including Woods and Phil Mickelson (72), but it remains to be seen if anyone can stop Matsuyama. After winning the event in his debut last year, the Japanese phenom appears completely comfortable at Jack’s Place.

Shot of the day: Dufner was in a precarious spot on the back of the green at the par-5 15th, but he curled in a hard-breaking, 60-foot putt for an unexpected eagle. It was his second eagle of the day and helped him to an opening 66.

Quote of the day: “My dad used to let me skip school and come to practice rounds. This is really where I started dreaming about playing professional golf.” – Van Pelt