MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Tom Hoge tied for 12th last year at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, one of his best finishes during his rookie season on the PGA Tour, and he opened his week with a 5-under 65 on Thursday for a share of the early lead.
The 27-year-old added to his Memphis legacy on Monday, qualifying for the U.S. Open at nearby Germantown Country Club for the second consecutive year.
“Something about the golf course obviously suits my eye,” Hoge said. “I think that a little bit of it is getting some irons in my hands and feeling pretty comfortable with them and then I putted really well here last year and did today as well.”
Hoge ranked second on Thursday in strokes gained – tee to green, much better than his season rank in that category (128th) and said the biggest key for him was his ability to avoid TPC Southwind’s rough.
“For me the biggest thing is driving,” said Hoge, who hit eight of 14 fairways in the first round. “When I have the ball in the fairway I play pretty well and in the past it's only been two, three days I've done it. I have to piece together four good rounds this week.”
Hoge, who was bogey free on Day 1, birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6 and added back-to-back birdies at the 12th and 13th holes on his way to a bogey-free day.