With overnight rains leading to lift, clean and place conditions for the opening round of the Wyndham Championship, players took full advantage. Here’s how things look after the first day at soggy Sedgefield Country Club, where three share the lead but a certain 14-time major winner lurks just off the pace:
Leaderboard: Erik Compton (-8), William McGirt (-8), Tom Hoge (-8), Morgan Hoffmann (-7), Derek Ernst (-7), Jim Herman (-7), Tiger Woods (-6), Martin Kaymer (-6)
What it means: Birdies were plentiful during the first round, as more than half of the field shot 68 or better. That group was headlined by Compton and McGirt, a pair of veterans each in search of their first win, while Hoge joined them late in the day and Woods got off to a strong start in his bid to win his way into the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Round of the day: Compton blistered the front nine at Sedgefield, carding seven birdies en route to an outward 28. While he only added one more circle coming home, the 8-under 62 was still his lowest round this season by three shots. At No. 114 in the FedEx Cup standings, Compton already has a spot at The Barclays next week but could build some playoff momentum with a high finish in Greensboro.
Best of the rest: McGirt is a North Carolina product who got off to a strong start last year at this event, and he is again in contention early after an opening-round 62. McGirt had a clean scorecard that featured eight birdies, including five across his first nine holes. It’s a welcome turn of fortune for McGirt, whose best result in his last 15 starts was a T-25 finish at the Travelers Championship.
Biggest disappointment: Brandt Snedeker earned his first win at this event in 2007 and is often a contender here, but he has some work to do simply to make the cut after an opening-round 70. With most players going deep into red figures, Snedeker managed only two birdies and cancelled them out with a pair of bogeys, leaving him eight shots off the early pace after a T-12 finish last week at Whistling Straits.
Main storyline heading into Friday: A win for Compton would be one of the game’s all-time storylines, but it’s still early. The story for the second round remains Woods, who made a surprise commitment to the event and then made the most of the opportunity with an opening 64. Should he build upon that momentum in the second round, he could put himself in position for his first top-10 finish in nearly two years.
Shot of the day: After an errant approach, Woods was short-sided on No. 10, his opening hole before crafting a high, arcing flop shot that hit on the edge of the putting surface and rolled right to the hole. The unexpected birdie created the first of many roars Woods would hear from the crowd during the opening round.
Quote of the day: “I finally got something out of my round.” – Woods