Less than a week after getting married to his high school sweetheart, PGA TOUR rookie Trey Mullinax made nine birdies and no bogeys in round one, good for a 63. Beginning on No. 10, he birdied Nos. 10, 11, 12, 15, 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7.
Mullinax’s 63 ties the record for best first-round score at the Puerto Rico Open; Derek Lamely (2010), Chris Tidland (2011), James Driscoll (2011) and Scott Brown (2013).
Mullinax’s 63 marks his new career-low score, supplanting a 65.
Mullinax, a 2014 University of Alabama grad, earned his PGA TOUR rookie card after finishing 18th on the 2016 Web.com Tour priority list. On that Tour last year, he won the Rex Hospital Open.
Mullinax is making his 12th start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season and is coming off two missed cuts at The Honda Classic and Valspar Championship. His best showing is a T14 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Mullinax’s best position after 18 holes on the PGA TOUR prior to this week was T2 at the 2016 Sanderson Farms Championship. After opening with a 7-under 65 at the Country Club of Jackson, he posted scores of 70-74-76 to finish T57.
Six of the eight different winners of the Puerto Rico Open made the victory their first on the PGA TOUR. Only Michael Bradley (2009, 2011) and George McNeill (2012) had previously won.
Mullinax and his high school girlfriend were married last Saturday in Birmingham, Ala. This week is serving as the new couple’s honeymoon.
First-Round Lead Notes
On just four of 18 occasions this season has a first-round leader emerged victorious. The last to do so was Justin Thomas at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Since the inception of the Puerto Rico Open in 2008, the first-round leader/co-leader has held on for the win on only one occasion. The last to do so was George McNeill in 2012, who was tied at 6-under with Matt Jones after 18 holes.
In last year’s first round of the Puerto Rico Open, San Juan native Rafa Campos opened with an 8-under 64 and led by a stroke over 2012 champion George McNeill.
Here are the first-round positions of the last five winners of the Puerto Rico Open:
2016 Tony Finau T16
2015 Alex Cejka T5
2014 Chesson Hadley T4
2013 Scott Brown T14
2012 George McNeill T1
Making his fourth start in the Puerto Rico Open, D.A. Points ended his first round with fireworks by holing his second shot at the par-4 ninth for an eagle-two (146 yards, 9-iron). Along with the eagle at his last hole of the day, he made seven birdies to open with a bogey-free, 8-under 64. The 64 is his lowest score by four strokes in 11 rounds at Coco Beach Golf & Country Club.
While he hit 11 of 14 fairways in regulation, Points missed only one green (No. 10).
In his first start at the Puerto Rico Open in 2009, Points finished T9. He missed the cut in 2013 and finished T65 last year.
Points made his way back onto the PGA TOUR this season by virtue of his 35th-place finish on the 2016 Web.com Tour priority list.
Points is the winner of the 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and 2013 Shell Houston. On the Web.com Tour between 2001 and 2008, he won four times.
Points, who joined the PGA TOUR in 2005, is making his 285th start this week.
Xander Schauffele, a fellow PGA TOUR rookie to Trey Mullinax, opened with a 7-under 65. The 2015 San Diego State University grad made eight birdies and just one bogey en route to the 65.
Also like Mullinax, Schauffele also made his way to the PGA TOUR this season via the 2016 Web.com Tour priority list (31st). On that Tour last season, he collected four top-10 finishes, two of which were third-place showings.
Schauffele is making his 11th start of the season and is coming off six straight missed cuts. His best finish of the season is a T5 from the 2016 Sanderson Farms Championship.
Harold Varner III
Making his first start in the Puerto Rico Open, North Carolina resident Harold Varner III made seven birdies and one bogey en route to a 6-under 66.
Varner hit 10 of 14 fairways in regulation and missed only one green (No. 6).
Varner is making his 13th start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, with a T15 at the Safeway Open his lone top-20 finish.
In early December of last year, Varner won the Australian PGA Championship.
In his rookie year on the PGA TOUR last season, he collected four top-10 finishes in 28 starts, highlighted by a T5 at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
Following three sub-par scores to start last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, Varner struggled Sunday, posting a 5-over 77 and finishing T34.
Puerto Rico native Rafa Campos, who finished T8 in last year’s event, birdied four of his last six holes, to open with a 6-under 66. He made nine birdies overall. When play resumed Friday morning, Campos had three holes remaining to complete his round, Nos. 7-9 (birdie-bogey-birdie).
Campos opened with an 8-under 64 in last year’s Puerto Rico Open to take a one-shot lead over George McNeill.
Campos, who had Web.com Tour status in 2016, tore his right longitudinal pectoral muscle. As opposed to taking time to recover, he attempted to play through the pain. As a result, poor play resulted in a loss of his Web.com Tour status. In early September, he tripped and tore ligaments in three toes on his right foot. He did not pick up a club again until after the New Year. This week marks his first professional start since late August.
Ian Poulter, who made his first start in last year’s Puerto Rico Open opened with a 3-under 69. Poulter finished T3 last year at Coco Beach Golf & Country Club. He opened last year’s event with a 71.
Playing this year on a Major Medical Extension, Poulter began the season with 10 events to earn 218 FedExCup points or $347,634 to remain exempt for the rest of the season. Through seven events, he has collected 101 FedExCup points (still needs 117) and made $202,965 (still needs $144,669). A three-way tie for third or better this week would satisfy his Extension.
Chris Nido, a 17-year-old amateur with Puerto Rican ties, opened with a 5-over 77 in his first-ever PGA TOUR start. Competing on a sponsor invitation, the high school senior in Miami, Fla. has committed to play for the University of Florida Gators, beginning in the fall.
Puerto Rican players in the field
Below are round one scores for the four Puerto Rican players in the field this week:
Rafa Campos 66/T5
Edward Figueroa 68/T18
Robert Calvesbert 80/132nd
Chris Nido 77/T127
There are five past champions of the Puerto Rico Open this week:
Player (year won) R1 Standing
Alex Cejka (2015) 68/T18
Chesson Hadley (2014) 69/T30
Scott Brown (2013) 67/T13
George McNeill (2012) 72/T93
Michael Bradley (2009 & 2011) 71/T71
Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative
R1 35.045 35.417 70.462 —
The par-4 fourth hole was the hardest in round one with an average of 4.273. The easiest hole was the par-5 fifth hole, which played to an average of 4.492.
R1 – Tyler Aldridge (68), Mark Anderson (68), Ricky Barnes (66), Miguel Angel Carballo (67), Joel Dahmen (69), Edward Figueroa (68), Andres Gonzales (68), Retief Goosen (68), David Hearn (66), Danny Lee (69), John Merrick (67), Trey Mullinax (63), D.A. Points (64), Jonathan Randolph (66), J.J. Spaun (66), Zach Sucher (67) and Boo Weekley (68).