First-Round Notes – Thursday, June 29, 2017
Weather: Partly cloudy with a high near 90 degrees. S wind at 10-20 mph.
David Lingmerth 65 (-5)
Troy Merritt 66 (-4)
Marc Leishman 66 (-4)
Johnson Wagner 66 (-4)
Sung Kang 66 (-4)
Nick Taylor 66 (-4)
Daniel Summerhays 66 (-4)
Sweden’s David Lingmerth bogeyed his final hole (No. 9) to post a 5-under 65 and equal his low round at Quicken Loans National – the 65s he shot in round two of both 2015 and 2013. Of the 31 players who posted sub-par rounds, Lingmerth was the only player to bogey the par-3 9th hole.
Lingmerth has mixed results in three previous starts at the Quicken Loans National, shooting four rounds in the 60s to finish third in 2015, missing the cut in 2014 and posting a T54 in 2013.
In 2012, Lingmerth won the Web.com Tour’s Neediest Kids Championship at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm with rounds of 66-66-74-66—272 (-8) for a one-stroke win over Casey Wittenberg. The victory locked up his PGA TOUR card for the following season.
This marks the second time Lingmerth has held the 18-hole lead/co-lead. Earlier this year, Lingmerth held the solo lead after a first-round 65 (-7) at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, eventually finishing T15. Lingmerth won the Memorial Tournament in 2015 for his lone PGA TOUR victory to date.
Lingmerth paired with Alex Noren to help Sweden record a T5 finish at the ISPS HANDA World Cup in Australia late last year. He has not posted a top-10 finish in an official PGA TOUR event since a T7 at last year’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone in Akron, Ohio. His best result in 17 starts this season is T12 at the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational.
Lingmerth, who has advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs in three of the past four years, began the week at No. 105 in the FedExCup standings.
Lingmerth, one of four international players in the top seven after the first round, is seeking to join England’s Justin Rose (2010, 2014) and South Korea’s K.J. Choi (2007) as the only international players to win the Quicken Loans National.
Lingmerth’s Strokes Gained Stats
Strokes Gained Stat Rank
Off the Tee: 2.060 7
Tee to Green 3.489 T8
Approach the Green: 0.682 46
Around the Green: 0.748 30
First-Round Lead Information
Last year, Jon Rahm led by one shot over Jhonattan Vegas after an opening-round 7-under 64.
The lowest 18-hole score at the Quicken Loans National is a 10-under 61 posted by Troy Merritt in the third round of his victory in 2015 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club.
K.J. Choi in 2007 is the only player to convert at least a share of the 18-hole lead into victory at the Quicken Loans National.
This week marks the third consecutive PGA TOUR event with a solo first-round leader (David Lingmerth/Quicken Loans National, Jordan Spieth/Travelers Championship, Rickie Fowler/U.S. Open).
So far this year, only six of 32 first-round leaders/co-leaders in PGA TOUR stroke-play events have converted for victory, most recently being Jordan Spieth at last week’s Travelers Championship.
Troy Merritt, the 2015 Quicken Loans National champion, fired a bogey-free 4-under 66 to record his best opening round in six appearances in this event. Merritt’s 10-under 61 in the third round of 2015, the year of his win, remains his tournament low and career low on the PGA TOUR.
Merritt’s T8 at last week’s Travelers Championship is his lone top-10 in 21 starts this season. He’s made nine cuts for five top-25 finishes and ranks No. 133 in the FedExCup.
Last week, Merritt shot a first-round 65 to sit T4, two back of Jordan Spieth’s lead at the Travelers Championship. It marked the first time since his rookie year (2010) that Merritt had recorded an opening round of 65 or better. In his PGA TOUR debut at the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii, Merritt shot 65 in the first round to share a six-way tie for the lead. Later that year he posted 64 at The RSM Classic to sit one back of leader John Rollins.
Marc Leishman’s bogey-free 4-under 66 included three consecutive birdies (holes 13-15) in his opening nine holes and matched his low round (of 25) in this event (66/R2/2014).
Leishman is making his eighth appearance at the Quicken Loans National where he has posted two top-10s (T8/2014, T7/2010).
Leishman is currently No. 14 in the FedExCup standings and seeking to advance to the FedExCup Playoffs for the ninth consecutive year. In 2009, he progressed to the TOUR Championship in his first year on TOUR and was named PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year. He has not made it to the Playoffs finale since his rookie year.
Earlier this season, Leishman claimed his second PGA TOUR victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. In 2012, he won the Travelers Championship. Leishman also owns five international victories on three different Tours, including three in his native Australia, one in Korea (2006 Jisan Resort Open) and one on the European Tour (2015 Nedbank Golf Challenge).
Leishman has represented the International Team twice at The Presidents Cup and owns a 3-4-1 overall record. In his most recent appearance in 2015 in Korea, Leishman posted a 1-up win over Jordan Spieth in the final-day singles matches. In 2013, he defeated Matt Kuchar 1-up in singles. He currently sits No. 8 in the International Team points standings for the 2017 Presidents Cup to be held at Liberty National in New Jersey later this year.
In April 2015, Leishman’s wife Audrey almost died of toxic shock syndrome. Now, Audrey is healthy and expecting the couple’s third child, a girl.
Johnson Wagner mixed five birdies with a single bogey (No. 11) to fire a 4-under 66, posting a sub-par opening round at this event for the first time in nine appearances. Wagner has advanced to the weekend twice in eight previous appearances at the Quicken Loans National (T57/2011, T27/2008) and seeks to break a string of four consecutive missed cuts in his last four starts in Washington D.C. (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012).
Wagner’s lone top-10 finish in 20 starts this season came in the first event of the season – a T3 at the Safeway Open.
Wagner shot 64 in the first round of last week’s Travelers Championship to sit T2 and one back of leader Jordan Spieth. While Spieth went on to win, Wagner failed to score under-par for the remaining three rounds and finished T43.
Wagner, a three-time PGA TOUR winner, is No. 140 in the FedExCup standings. In the previous 10 seasons of the FedExCup, Wagner has advanced to the Playoffs six times but has never made it to the TOUR Championship.
Six birdies and two bogeys for Sung Kang in his 300th round on the PGA TOUR resulted in a 4-under 66.
Kang missed the cut in his two previous appearances at the Quicken Loans National in 2012 and 2016.
Kang is seeking his first PGA TOUR victory in his 105th career start. His previous-best finish is runner-up to Russell Henley at the Shell Houston Open in April this year, one of two top-10 results this season (T6/Valero Texas Open).
Should he go on to victory, Kang would become the third player to make the Quicken Loans National his first PGA TOUR title and the third consecutive player to do so (Billy Hurley III/2016, Troy Merritt/2015).
Kang currently sits No. 37 in the FedExCup standings. After two top-10s and four top-25s in the 2015-16 season, Kang advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs for the first time in his career. Before Kang ended his season at No. 96 in the standings with a missed cut at the Dell Technologies Championship, he closed with a course-record 64 at Bethpage Black during THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first event of the Playoffs.
Kang is originally from Seoul, South Korea and resides in Dallas, Texas. He works with swing instructor George Gankas in Los Angeles, Calif.
Canada’s Nick Taylor posted five birdies in his first six holes before making a double bogey at his eighth hole (No. 17) to drop out of the solo lead he held briefly. An additional birdie at No. 1 followed by eight straight pars led to a 4-under 66.
Taylor has seven of nine sub-par rounds at the Quicken Loans National contributing to a T52 finish in 2015 and a T12 in last year’s event.
Taylor won the 2014 Sanderson Farms Championship in his 13th PGA TOUR start (7th start as a professional) to earn exempt status on TOUR. In 22 starts this season he’s recorded three top-10 finishes (T10/AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, T8/Wells Fargo Championship, T9/AT&T Byron Nelson).
After starting on the back nine, Daniel Summerhays fired an opening-round 4-under 66 which included an eagle 2 at the par-4 13th hole when he dunked a wedge from 105 yards. The eagle was sandwiched between birdies at holes 12 and 14. Summerhays reached 6-under to lead through 12 holes before a bogey, par, double bogey, birdie finish dropped him to 4-under.
Summerhays has started well in the Quicken Loans National with sub-par opening rounds in five of his six appearances. The lone blemish was the 78 he posted in 2013. His best result in this event came in his tournament debut in 2012, with a T17.
Summerhays, a 33-year-old Utah native, is seeking his first PGA TOUR victory in his 189th start this week. Should he go on to victory, he would become the third player to make the Quicken Loans National his first PGA TOUR title and the third consecutive player to do so. His best finishes on TOUR are a pair of T2s; 2013 Sanderson Farms Championship and 2014 Valero Texas Open.
As an amateur on the Web.com Tour, Summerhays won the 2007 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational at the Ohio State University’s Scarlett course.
Since joining the PGA TOUR in 2011, he has finished inside the top 100 in FedExCup standings each season, with the exception of his rookie year.
In 22 starts this season, Summerhays’ lone top-10 finish came at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide where he was the 54-hole leader before firing a final-round 78 to finish T10.
Before embarking on life as a golf professional, Summerhays spent two years on a mission for the Morman church in Chile and became fluent in Spanish.
Additional Player Notes
Jason Gore, playing on a sponsor exemption, posted 17 pars and a lone birdie (No. 14) for a 1-under 69 to sit T26. Gore is the current course-record holder, although TPC Potomac has undergone renovations since he recorded 7-under 63 in the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Neediest Kids Championship in 2012.
Rickie Fowler, at No. 9 in the Official World Golf Ranking the highest-ranked player in the field, began bogey, double bogey before settling in with five birdies and two additional bogeys to post an even-par 70 and sit T32 in the first round. In six appearances at this event, Fowler has posted par or better in the first round each time.
Justin Thomas, No. 3 in the FedExCup standings and 210 points behind leader Dustin Johnson, is the highest-ranked player in the standings in the field this week. With a victory, or solo second, he could move into the No. 1 position. However, a quadruple bogey 9 at the par-5 10th hole contributed to a first-round 4-over 74. He sits T93 with work to do to advance to the weekend.
Starting on No. 10, Morgan Hoffmann began the round with a pair of 7s (double bogey, triple bogey) before posting five birdies and a lone bogey (No. 8) to shoot 1-over 71.
First-round scores from past Quicken Loans National champions in the field: Billy Hurley III/2016 (73), Troy Merritt/2015 (66), Bill Haas/2013 (69), Nick Watney/2011 (72) and K.J. Choi/2007 (73).
The Quicken Loans National is once again part of The Open Qualifying Series. The leading four players, not otherwise exempt, in the top 12 and ties, will earn positions in the field at the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
- The best 18-hole score in tournament history is 61 by Troy Merritt in 2015.
- The best 36-hole score in tournament history is 130 by Tiger Woods in 2009.
- The best 54-hole score in tournament history is 198 by Billy Hurley III in 2016.
- The best 72-hole score in tournament history is 266 by Troy Merritt in 2015.
- The best come-from-behind win at the Quicken Loans National is three shots by Anthony Kim
(2008) and Justin Rose (2014).
- Justin Rose (2010, 2014) and Tiger Woods (2009, 2012) are the only multiple winners of the
Quicken Loans National.
- The event has only produced one playoff which occurred in 2014 when Justin Rose defeated
Shawn Stefani on the first extra hole.
Morning scoring average: 71.32
Afternoon scoring average: 71.08
TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm’s most difficult hole in the first round was the par-4 11th, yielding an average of 4.517. The easiest hole was the par-4 14th hole, averaging 3.593. James Hahn and Luke List were the only two players to record eagles at the 300-yard 14th hole in the first round.
R1: Troy Merritt (66), Marc Leishman (66), Russell Henley (67), Jason Gore (69).
Scoring Averages at the par-70 TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm:
Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative
R1: 35.932 35.271 71.203 —
Boo Weekley withdrew after six holes of the opening round with tendonitis. Michael Thompson withdrew after nine holes with a shoulder injury. Fabian Gomez withdrew after the completion of the first round.