PGA TOUR rookie Cody Gribble opens with a 64

First-Round Notes – Thursday, February 23, 2017

710

Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 79. Wind NNW 8-15 mph.

Due to wet course conditions, preferred lies in closely-mown areas were in effect for round one.

First-Round Leaderboard
Cody Gribble           64 (-6)
Wesley Bryan          64 (-6)
Martin Kaymer         65 (-5)

Cody Gribble
PGA TOUR rookie Cody Gribble offset a lone bogey at the par-4 16th with seven birdies to open with a 64. This marks Gribble’s first start in The Honda Classic. Among Gribble’s birdies were at his last two holes of the day, Nos. 17 and 18.

In round one today, Gribble became the first player in Honda Classic history to hit all 18 greens in regulation since the event moved to PGA National in 2007.

In just his second start of his rookie season, Gribble closed with a 7-under 65 at the Country Club of Jackson to claim his first career PGA TOUR title at the Sanderson Farms Championship in October.

In addition to Gribble’s win in Mississippi, the Texas native also finished inside the top 10 in his first start of the season at the Safeway Open. He comes to this week’s Honda Classic on the heels of four straight missed cuts.

Gribble made his way onto the PGA TOUR this season by virtue of his 40th-place finish on last season’s Web.com Tour priority list.

Gribble played the “Bear Trap” (Nos. 15-17) in even par (par-bogey-birdie).

This marks Gribble’s first time atop the leaderboard on the PGA TOUR after any round. His previous-best was a T3 after the third round of the 2016 Sanderson Farms Championship, which he won.

Wesley Bryan
A week after posting a career-low, 8-under 63 in round three at the Genesis Open (R4) en route to T4 honors, Wesley Bryan opened with a 6-under 64.

Like Cody Gribble, Bryan is making his first start in The Honda Classic this week.

Also like Gribble, Bryan made his way to the PGA TOUR this season via his success on last year’s Web.com Tour. A three-time winner on that Tour last season, Bryan came away with top honors in Regular Season and Finals combined money.

Bryan is making his 10th start of the season on the PGA TOUR this week where, prior to last week’s T4, he missed the cut in four of his previous five starts.

Bryan played the “Bear Trap” with three pars in round one.

This marks Bryan’s first-ever 18-hole lead/co-lead on the PGA TOUR. His only lead after any round on TOUR came after round two of the 2016 John Deere Classic (T1). He finished T8 at TPC Deere Run.

First-Round Lead Notes
Since 2000, the only players to convert an 18-hole lead/co-lead into victory at The Honda Classic were Dudley Hart (2000), Jesper Parnevik (2001) and Justin Leonard (2003).

Through 14 events on the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, only four players have managed to parlay that position into a win. Most recently, Justin Thomas did so at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

After 18 holes last year, Sergio Garcia and Michael Thompson were tied at the top at 5-under 65.

Since moving to PGA National in 2007, the lowest opening-round score belongs to Rory McIlroy, who opened the 2014 event with a 7-under 63. The highest 18-hole lead at The Honda Classic since 2007 was Spencer Levin’s 3-under 67 in 2011.

Martin Kaymer
Germany’s Martin Kaymer, birdied his last two holes, Nos. 17 and 18, to post a 5-under 65 and get within one of the lead.

Kaymer hit 13 of 14 fairways in regulation, missing on only the par-4 13th. He hit 15 of 18 greens.

Kaymer, a non-member of the PGA TOUR, is making his fourth start at The Honda Classic, an event in which he has not experienced much success. He finished T51 in 2013, missed the cut in 2014 and was T44 in 2015.

Kaymer is the winner of three events on the PGA TOUR; 2010 PGA Championship, 2014 PLAYERS Championship and 2014 U.S. Open.

Ian Poulter
Playing on a Major Medical Extension, England’s Ian Poulter began the season with 10 events available to earn 218 FedExCup points or $347,634 to remain exempt for the remainder of the season. Through four events, he still needs 154 FedExCup points or $220,300.

Making his sixth start in The Honda Classic, made 11 straight pars before going eagle-birdie-birdie on Nos. 3, 4 and 5. He would end up with a bogey-free, 4-under 66.

This marks the first time in six starts at The Honda Classic that Poulter has posted a sub-par score in round one.

Poulter began the final round of the 2015 Honda Classic with a three-stroke lead, but in a Monday finish, he could manage no better than a 4-over 74 to settle in at T4.

On the PGA TOUR, Poulter is the winner of the 2010 World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play and 2012 WGC-HSBC Champions. He has collected an additional 13 titles worldwide.

Ben Crane
Making his 10th start in The Honda Classic, Ben Crane made five birdies, before taking a bogey at his last hole of the day, No. 9, en route to a 4-under 66.

Crane’s lone top-10 finish in his nine previous starts at PGA National was solo-third in 2009. Following opening rounds of 77-71 last year, Crane missed the cut.

Crane is making his 10th start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, with a T15 at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba his lone top-15 showing.

Crane, the winner of five PGA TOUR events, is in search of his first since the 2014 FedEx St. Jude Classic.

Since his 2014 win in Memphis, Crane has made 66 PGA TOUR starts before this week, with his only top-10 finish being a T9 at the 2016 RBC Canadian Open.
Crane made a return to the PGA TOUR this season by virtue of his 117th-place finish in last season’s FedExCup standings.

Graham DeLaet
After opening with 11 straight pars, Canada’s Graham DeLaet reeled off four birdies on his last seven holes to post a bogey-free 66.

Making his sixth start in The Honda Classic this week, DeLaet has one top-10 (T9/2013) and three missed cuts.

Delaet remains in search of his first career PGA TOUR win in his 156th start. He has finished T2 on three occasions; 2013/THE NORTHERN TRUST, 2014/Farmers Insurance Open and 2014/Waste Management Phoenix Open.

DeLaet is making his eighth start of the 2016-17 Season, having collected top-10 finishes at the Sanderson Farms Championship (T8) and Waste Management Phoenix Open (T9).

Miscellaneous Notes
Defending Honda Classic champion Adam Scott opened with a 2-under 68 in his sixth start at PGA National. After 18 holes last year, he was five strokes back at even-par 70.

Scott Stallings made a hole-in-one on the 15th hole from 184 yards, using an 8-iron. As the first player to ace the hole, he won a 2017 Honda CR-V. Stallings’ ace was the first at No. 15 in tournament history (moved to PGA National in 2007).

Since 2007, here is a look at those who have made aces at PGA National:

Player Rd. Hole Year
Ben Crane 3 5 2009
Charles Howell III 4 7 2012
Davis Love III 1 5 2012
Robert Allenby 2 7 2013
Alex Cejka 1 17 2016
Scott Stallings 1 15 2017

The week of The Honda Classic offers the final opportunity to qualify for next week’s World Golf Championships- Mexico Championship, a title Adam Scott will also be defending. Players not previously eligible can qualify by being inside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking (players inside the top 50 in the OWGR as of 2/20/17 cannot drop out) or the top 10 or the FedExCup standings following The Honda Classic.

Tim Wilkinson and Cameron Percy withdrew during round one with back injuries. Branden Grace withdrew after his round.

Scoring Averages at the par-70 PGA National:

Front 9             Back 9              Total                 Cumulative

Thursday                      35.070              35.261              70.331              —

“Bear Trap” averages – No. 15 (3.035/12th toughest), No. 16 (4.056/10th toughest), No. 17 (3.289/toughest hole on the course).

The par-5 18th (4.387) was the easiest hole of the day.
Bogey-free rounds:
R1: Graham DeLaet (66), Ian Poulter (66) and Brian Harman (67).

 

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