September 12, 2013, London, ON – Scottsdale, Arizona’s Trevor Murphy shot a 6-under 66 at Sunningdale Golf and Country Club Thursday to take a two shot lead in the first round of the TOUR Championship presented by Freedom 55 Financial.
Murphy was one of 64 players to complete round one before play was suspended due to darkness at 7:38 PM.
The 22-year old Murphy led by two over a group of three players including Madison, Mississippi’s Trey Denton, Scottsdale, Arizona’s Bentley Nakasawa and West Palm Beach’s Johnny DelPrete.
“We knew the conditions were going to be tough and I think that helped me to be a little more patient,” said Murphy. “When I made a couple of birdies it just felt like a bonus. It felt like survival out there and I think I play my best golf when I stay patient. I knew I had to be today.”
The start of play was delayed 5 hours and 20 minutes Thursday due to overnight rains that scattered debris and dropped 3.9 inches of rain on Sunningdale Golf and Country Club.
“It was unbelievable,” said Murphy of the storm that hit Wednesday night. “I saw some of the pictures and it’s amazing that they were able to get the golf course ready for us to play with all the bunkers that were washed out.”
Denton, Nakasawa and DelPrete were two strokes behind Murphy, while a group of 13 players including London native Andrew Parr and former Golf Canada national amateur team players Nick Taylor and Albin Choi.
Taylor toughs it out for round one
Coming into the week at no. 7 on the Order of Merit, Abbotsford, British Columbia’s Nick Taylor knew he needed a good week to get inside The Five and earn a Web.com Tour card for 2014. One thing he didn’t need? A fever-like illness that kept him holed up in his hotel room on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Playing Sunningdale for the first time, Taylor shot a 3-under par 69 Thursday to sit tied for fifth at the end of the day’s play, putting him in squarely in contention.
“At the start of the week I was just hoping to play, so to shoot a good first round I’m happy for sure,” said Taylor. “I didn’t know how I would feel this morning. I hit the ball really well the last two rounds last week, so it might have been a good thing knowing I didn’t need to practice much.”
Taylor has five top-10s on the season and is just $3,651.48 back of The Five with $35,661.25 in earnings on the season.
Top three have up-and-down day
With tee times for the first two rounds grouped according to position on the Order of Merit, Thursday’s first round saw a marquee threesome of Mackenzie Hughes, Riley Wheeldon and Hugo Leon play together. But while the group combined for plenty of fireworks, carding 13 birdies between them, Hughes (1-under par 71) was the only one to break par, with Wheeldon and Leon shooting rounds of even-par 72.
No. 4 Wil Collins, No. 5 Joe Panzeri and no. 6 Mark Hubbard all played just three holes Thursday evening before play was called due to darkness, with Hughes the only member of the top five under par at the end of Thursday’s play.
– Weather: Partly cloudy, 17 degrees Celsius, winds 20 km/h gusting to 30 km/h
– Thursday’s delay made the TOUR Championship of Canada presented by Freedom 55 Financial the sixth tournament has been delayed by weather or darkness this season
– Round one was played with preferred lies, making it five consecutive rounds where ‘lift, clean and place’ has been in effect dating back to last week’s Cape Breton Celtic Classic
– Murphy’s 66 would tie the highest first round leading score on PGA TOUR Canada this season, matching Chris Epperson and Max Scodro at the ATB Financial Classic presented by TELUS