Bud Cauley 63 (-8)
Luke Donald 65 (-6)
Graham DeLaet 65 (-6)
Sam Saunders 65 (-6)
Bud Cauley’s 8-under 63 falls one stroke shy of his personal-best PGA TOUR score at the 2012 RSM Classic (round one) and the best opening-round score at the RBC Heritage, set by Davis Love III in 2002 and Peter Lonard in 2005.
The RBC Heritage tournament record is 61, set by David Frost in 1994 (R2) and Troy Merritt in 2015 (R2).
Round at a glance: 12 of 14 fairways, 17 of 18 green, 28 putts, 1 of 1 scrambling.
Cauley currently sits No. 95 in the FedExCup standings. He enjoyed his best FedExCup finish during his first full season on TOUR in 2012, finishing No. 38.
Cauley is making his fourth start at the RBC Heritage (MC-2013, T37-2012, MC-2010). His previous best round at Harbour Town Golf Links was a second-round 3-under 68 in 2012.
In 107 prior PGA TOUR starts, Cauley posted career-best third-place finishes at the 2011 Safeway Open (3), 2012 Wyndham Championship (3) and 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge (T3).
Cauley was out of competition for 15 months after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder to repair a torn labrum in September 2014.
This marks the second time Cauley has held the lead/co-lead on the PGA TOUR, carrying an opening round 8-under 62 to a T20 finish at the 2012 RSM Classic.
First-Round Leader Notes
Prior to this season, two of the last three 18-hole leader/co-leaders at the RBC Heritage have carried that lead on to victory (Matt Kuchar in 2014 and Branden Grace in 2016). Prior to that, Peter Lonard last performed the feat in 2005.
A year ago, eventual champion Branden Grace and Luke Donald shared the opening-round lead at 5-under 66. It marked the third straight year the first-round leading score has been 5-under 66.
There have been just four first-round leaders/co-leaders that have gone on to win in 21 stroke-play events this season, most recently Justin Thomas at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Team RBC Leaderboard
In 2015, Jim Furyk became the third consecutive RBC Golf Ambassador to win the RBC Heritage (2013/Graeme McDowell and 2014/Matt Kuchar).
RBC began sponsoring the RBC Heritage in 2012. In the two years preceding their sponsorship, current RBC Ambassadors Furyk (2010) and Brandt Snedeker (2011) won in Hilton Head. To further enhance the connection, Carl Pettersson, who won the RBC Heritage in 2012, also won the RBC Canadian Open in 2010.
Round One Scores for Team RBC
Graham DeLaet 65 (-6)
Jim Furyk 68 (-3)
Matt Kuchar 68 (-3)
Ryan Palmer 68 (-3)
Brandt Snedeker 69 (-2)
Nick Taylor 69 (-2)
David Hearn 70 (-1)
Ernie Els 70 (-1)
Adam Hadwin 71 (E)
Graeme McDowell 72 (+1)
Defending champion Branden Grace opened with a 3-under 68 as he attempts to join Payne Stewart (1989-90), Davis Love III (1991-92) & Boo Weekley (2007-08) as the only back-to-back winners at the RBC Heritage.
No defending champion who has teed it up the year following his win has missed the cut at the RBC Heritage since Davis Love III in 1993.
Victory at Harbour Town came in Grace’s 51st PGA TOUR start at the age of 27 years, 10 months and 28 days. The win was his first on TOUR and replaced a third-place finish at the 2015 PGA Championship as his best finish.
Grace is making his third start at the RBC Heritage (T7-2015, Won-2016).
Following his opening-round 68, Grace still has just one over-par round (74/R2/2016) in his nine trips around Harbour Town Golf Links.
Grace became the 11th first-time winner of the RBC Heritage: Hale Irwin (1971), Graham Marsh (1977), Doug Tewell (1980), Nick Faldo (1984), Davis Love III (1987), Glen Day (1999), Jose Coceres (2001), Peter Lonard (2005), Aaron Baddeley (2006), Boo Weekley (2007) and Branden Grace (2016).
Grace became the 11th international player to win the RBC Heritage, joining Graeme McDowell (2013), Carl Pettersson (2012), Aaron Baddeley (2006), Peter Lonard (2005), Jose Coceres (2001), Nick Price (1997), Greg Norman (1988), Bernhard Langer (1985), Nick Faldo (1984) and Graham Marsh (1977).
Two-time RBC Heritage champion and RBC ambassador Jim Furyk (2010, 2015) was unable to defend his title last year after having wrist surgery on a bone contusion in his left wrist. He returned in 2017 for his 18th start at the RBC Heritage, where he owns eight top-10 finishes. Furyk opened Thursday with a 3-under 68.
In 2015, Furyk set the tournament record for the low finish by a winner at the RBC Heritage with a 63. The previous mark was a 64 by Brandt Snedeker (2011), Brian Gay (2009) and Stewart Cink (2004).
With his win in 2015, Furyk became the second oldest winner of the RBC Heritage behind Hale Irwin.
In addition to his two victories (2010, 2015), Furyk finished runner-up at Harbour Town in 2005 and 2006
Luke Donald, who opened Thursday with a 6-under 65, owns a remarkable six top-3 finishes in his last eight starts (11 overall) at Harbour Town Golf Links (T2-2016, 2nd-2014, T3-2013, 2nd-2011, T3-2010, T2-2009).
Since 1934 (official PGA TOUR events), Donald is one of 14 players to finish runner-up in an event four times. Only five players have more runner-up finishes in an event during that span: Jack Nicklaus (7, RBC Canadian Open), Phil Mickelson (6, U.S. Open), Payne Stewart (5, The Honda Classic), Jack Nicklaus (5, Ford Championship at Doral), Greg Norman (5, BMW Championship).
Donald owns five PGA TOUR victories (2012 Valspar Championship, 2011 World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play, 2011 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, 2006 The Honda Classic, 2002 Sanderson Farms Championship).
Donald has held three 54-hole leads at the event (2016, 2014, 2011) but failed to convert any into victory.
Including all four rounds at the 2016 RBC Heritage and Thursday’s 65, 30 of Donald’s last 32 rounds at Harbour Town have been even-par or better.
Davis Love III
Winning U.S. Ryder Cup captain and five-time RBC Heritage winner Davis Love III (1987, 1991, 1992, 1998, 2003) opened with a 1-over 72 in his 29th start at the RBC Heritage. His 100th round at the RBC Heritage Thursday came on his 53rd birthday.
Love did not miss a start at Harbour Town between 1986-2011 (26 starts). He has since teed it up just three times in six years (MC/2014, T59/2016, TBD-2017).
Additional Player Notes
Sam Saunders closed his round with three consecutive birdies en route to a 6-under 65. He entered the week with two straight top-20 finishes (T5-Puerto Rico Open, T20-Shell Houston Open).
Webb Simpson closed his round with five consecutive birdies (Nos. 5-9) en route to a 5-under 66.
Kevin Kisner lost in a playoff to Furyk in 2015 in his bid to become the first South Carolinian to win the RBC Heritage. Here’s a look at his four starts here (MC-2011, T38-2014, 2-2015, T69-2016). Kisner opened with a 1-over 72 Thursday.
Boo Weekley owns five top-15 finishes in 10 RBC Heritage starts (1-2007, 1-2008, T13-2009, T12-2010, T6-2012). Thursday’s 1-over 72 marks just his third over-par score in 11 openings rounds at Harbour Town.
Since the RBC Heritage moved into its slot after the Masters in 1983, just six players have won the event without having competed in the Masters the week before: Carl Pettersson (2012), Brian Gay (2009), Boo Weekley (2007), Aaron Baddeley (2006), Bob Tway (1995) and Davis Love III (1987).
Multiple winners of the RBC Heritage: Davis Love III (5), Hale Irwin (3), Johnny Miller (2), Hubert Green (2), Tom Watson (2), Fuzzy Zoeller (2), Payne Stewart (2), Stewart Cink (2), Boo Weekley (2), Jim Furyk (2).
Past RBC Heritage champions in the field
Branden Grace (2016) 68 (-3)
Brian Gay (2009) 68 (-3)
Jim Furyk (2015, 2010) 68 (-3)
Matt Kuchar (2014) 68 (-3)
Carl Pettersson (2012) 69 (-2)
Brandt Snedeker (2011) 69 (-2)
Stewart Cink (2004, 2000) 70 (-1)
Aaron Baddeley (2006) 71 (E)
Graeme McDowell (2013) 72 (+1)
Boo Weekley (2008, 2007) 72 (+1)
Davis Love III (2003, 1998, 1992, 1991, 1987) 72 (+1)
R1 – Bud Cauley (63), Graham DeLaet (65), Ben Crane (66), Sam Saunders (66), Russell Henley (66), Martin Laird (69), Nick Taylor (69), Steven Bowditch (71)
Scoring Averages: Front (36) Back (35) Total (71) Cumulative
First round 35.273 35.053 70.326 —
Morning scoring average (70.47) vs. afternoon scoring average (70.18).