This year’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open field is full of well-known names like Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker and Presidents Cup partners Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell, but it was one of the lesser known players who grabbed the solo lead in a first round suspended late Thursday by darkness.
South Korea’s Whee Kim carded a bogey-free, six-under 65 in Las Vegas at TPC Summerlin, giving him a one-shot edge on a host of players sitting at five-under.
High winds became much more difficult to deal with in the afternoon on Friday morning (AEST), but thanks to an early tee time, Kim posted his round early in the day, and the score held up, at least until a few players finish off their first rounds early Friday morning.
“I think I played pretty decent,” Kim said. “It was pretty calm in the morning, for the first nine holes, and as soon as I finished my 12th hole the wind picked up and it was a little tougher.”
Despite the conditions late in his round, he was able to finish strong on his final six holes, picking up two birdies and scrambling for par at the difficult, 239-yard par-3 eighth (his 17th). Kim’s 65 comes on the heels of his third-best finish on the PGA Tour at the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges in his home country, where he came in solo fourth.
Defending champion Rod Pampling and Aaron Baddeley are the best-placed Aussies at one-under, while Geoff Ogilvy sits a shot further back at even-par.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 2, 2017
Five players are one back at five-under, including Jimmy Stanger, the former University of Virginia All-American who is making just his third appearance on the PGA Tour. Stanger’s round began on the back nine, where he opened with a birdie at the par-4 10th, an eagle-two at the par-4 15th followed by back-to-back birdies at the 16th and 17th. After seven straight pars, his opening round was cut short. He’ll have three holes left to play late Friday night (AEST) and a chance to grab a share of the lead. Stanger is currently tied with J.J. Spaun, Alex Cejka, Ryan Blaum and John Huh, all of whom completed their first rounds.
A large group is within two shots at four-under, including Chappell, Billy Horschel, Bryson Dechambeau, Patrick Cantlay and Peter Malnati.