The 2019 Wyndham Championship is off to a great start as Jordan Spieth shot a 6-under 64 and trails the lead by just two after 18 holes. Spieth was one of over 120 golfers to shoot even par or better on the day as this birdie fest takes center stage before next week’s playoffs. We have much to discuss following an eventful first day so let’s dive into it.
First place — Ben An, Sungjae Im (-8): Both are ball-striking studs, and both have some staying power atop the leaderboard, although I’m not totally sure how Im is holding on like this. The Wyndham is his 32nd (!) event of the season, his first on the PGA Tour. I guess he wanted to get his money’s worth, and he has as he’s currently No. 25 in the FedEx Cup despite not yet winning a tournament. A victory here would be a nice capper and likely propel him all the way to the Tour Championship.
Last place — Martin Trainer (+5): It was a rough day for Trainer, who had more at stake than just a good first round. He came in No. 128 in the FedEx Cup, and while he has his PGA Tour card for next season based on a win in Puerto Rico, a decent showing this week would have pushed him into the FedEx Cup Playoffs next week at The Northern Trust. Now it will take something in the low 60s (or better!) just to make the cut.
Other contenders — Rory Sabbatini (-7), Jordan Spieth (-6), Webb Simpson (-6), Brandt Snedeker (-6), Matthew Wolff (-5): Spieth had a very 2019 Spieth-ian round. He gained five strokes on the greens on 23 total putts and is within two of the lead despite not ranking in the top 100 from tee to green. The primary culprit for that poor tee-to-green form? Tee balls on No. 12 and No. 18 that cost him nearly four (!) strokes.
. He’s been unbelievable on the greens and unbelievably bad away from them. Still, he believes he’s moving in the right direction.
“You want putts for birdie,” Spieth said of his hot putter. “You want to be hitting greens in regulation. Two bad swings today kept it from being maybe my lowest round on the PGA Tour. There’s a lot of good in that. I’m very pleased with my position after Round 1. I like where my game is trending from tee to green and I’m maintaining where it’s been on and around the greens.”
My verdict: Not so sure.
Bubble boys: Here’s how everyone from No. 120-130 did on Thursday. Remember, the top 125 keep their PGA Tour cards and make it into the playoffs.
120. Aaron Wise (+1): Still in
121. Brice Garnett (-6): Still in
122. Pat Perez (E): Out
123. Sebastian Munoz (-1): Out
124. Robert Streb (+3): Out
125. Alex Noren (-1): Out
126. Austin Cook (-4): In
127. Richy Werenski (-2): Out
128. Martin Trainer (+5): Out
129. Patton Kizzire (-5): In
130. Peter Uihlein (-2): Out
The biggest jump was made by Seamus Power, who shot a 6-under 64. Power went from No. 144 going into this tournament to projected at No. 125 (the last slot) after his first round. There’s still a ton of golf left obviously, but if the event ended right now, he’d be in.
Shot of the day: Let’s chat for a moment about how Matthew Wolff (video below), Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland are a combined 13 under even though none of them have double-digit starts on the PGA Tour. In a perfect golf world run by me, they would be in the final two pairings on Sunday alongside Spieth.
What to watch on Day 2: There’s a lot! Can Spieth hold up? Can one of the three rookies make a charge? What will happen to the Bubble Boys? There are always myriad storylines pouring out of this event, and this year’s edition is no different. Hopefully that will continue to be true come Sunday afternoon.