First-Round Notes – Thursday, January 18, 2018
Weather: Mostly sunny, with a high of 78. Light, variable wind 4-8 mph.
Jon Rahm 62 (-10) LQ
Andrew Landry 63 (-9) LQ
Jason Kokrak 63 (-9) LQ
Austin Cook 63 (-9) NT
First-Round Leader Notes
Through 10 events in the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season, four players have converted an 18-hole lead into victory, most recently being Patton Kizzire at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
Since 2000, the only 18-hole leaders/co-leaders of the CareerBuilder Challenge to parlay that position into victory were Pat Perez (2009), Patrick Reed (2014) and Jason Dufner (2016).
After 18 holes last year, Dominic Bozzelli led by a stroke at 8-under 64 (Stadium).
Since becoming a 72-hole event, the lowest opening-round score at the CareerBuilder Challenge before this week was 63 (posted seven times).
Making his second start at the CareerBuilder Challenge (T34/2017), World No. 3 Jon Rahm played his first seven holes at La Quinta Country Club in 6-under (birdie-birdie-par-par-eagle-
Rahm hit 12 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in round one. He needed 25 putts to complete his round. Rahm had 11 1-putts, including six straight on Nos. 11-16.
The last player to open his week at La Quinta Country Club before going on to win was Hudson Swafford in 2017.
In 2017’s third round, Canada’s Adam Hadwin posted a 13-under 59, before ultimately finishing second to Hudson Swafford.
Rahm is making his third start of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season and first since finishing solo-second at the Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks ago.
With an eagle-3 on the 72nd hole of the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open, Rahm captured his first career PGA TOUR title. He will defend his title next week at Torrey Pines.
Beginning on No. 10 at La Quinta Country Club, Andrew Landry got off to the strongest start of the day, playing his outgoing nine holes in 7-under-par (birdie-birdie-par-par-eagle-
Landry’s 63 supplants his previous career low of 64 from the second round of the 2017 The RSM Classic.
Landry had 11 1-putts on his round and holed out for an eagle-2 on the 14th hole.
Landry is making his second start in the CareerBuilder Challenge (MC/2016).
Landry is making his seventh start of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season and comes off a missed cut in last week’s Sony Open in Hawaii. He claimed top-10 finishes at the Safeway Open (T7) and The RSM Classic (T4).
Landry made his way onto the PGA TOUR this season by virtue of his fourth-place finish on the 2017 Web.com Tour priority list.
Playing at La Quinta Country Club, Jason Kokrak played his last five holes, Nos. 5-9, in 5-under-par (birdie-eagle-birdie-par-
Kokrak’s 63 in round one is one stroke shy of his career-low round.
Kokrak is making his sixth start in the CareerBuilder Challenge this week, with a T8 in 2013 his only top-25 showing.
Kokrak is making his seventh start of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season, with a T7 at the Sanderson Farms Championship his lone top-10 showing.
Kokrak remains in search of his first career PGA TOUR win this week in his 164th start.
PGA TOUR rookie Austin Cook, winner of this season’s The RSM Classic, made seven birdies and an eagle-3 on No. 4 of the Nicklaus Tournament Course to post a bogey-free, 9-under 63.
Cook hit a perfect 14 of 14 fairways in regulation and missed only three greens on the Nicklaus Tournament Course.
In six starts this season before this week, Cook has finished outside the top-25 only once (T50/OHL Classic at Mayakoba).
On the Web.com Tour in 2017, Cook finished the season two spots on the Finals money list away from securing a PGA TOUR card when the Web.com Tour Championship was cancelled due to Hurricane Matthew. He was 20th in the final priority-ranking order, but secured his PGA TOUR card for the 2017-18 season with a 15th-place finish on the Regular Season money list.
With six birdies and an eagle on his first 11 holes at La Quinta Country Club, Beau Hossler opened with an 8-under 64. He played Nos. 12-18 in even par.
This marks Hossler’s 15th professional start on the PGA TOUR, dating to the 2016-17 season. He made three starts as an amateur, between 2011 and 2015.
Hossler is making his seventh start of the 2017-18 season, where he has claimed top-10 finishes at the Sanderson Farms Championship (T10) and Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (T7) in back-to-back weeks.
Hossler claimed a pair of top-10 finishes on last year’s Web.com Tour in 14 starts. He finished 48th on that Tour’s priority rank.
Miscellaneous Player Notes
Defending CareerBuilder Challenge winner Hudson Swafford opened with a 6-under 66 at La Quinta and will begin round two four strokes back. In last year’s first round, he was one stroke back at 7-under 65.
Swafford is making his fifth start in the CareerBuilder Challenge this week.
CareerBuilder Challenge Ambassador and two-time winner of the event (2002, 2004) Phil Mickelson opened with a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club. Mickelson opened with a 4-under 68 in round one at La Quinta in 2017, en route to a T21 finish.
This marks the eighth consecutive season in which Mickelson has played his first round of the CareerBuilder Challenge at La Quinta Country Club and is his highest score on that layout since posting a 1-under 71 in 2015.
This marks Mickelson’s 15th start in the CareerBuilder Challenge, dating to a missed cut in 1993.
The 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge is Mickelson’s third start of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season (T3/Safeway Open, T15/World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions).
Mickelson, a 42-time winner on the PGA TOUR and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, is in search of his first TOUR win since the 2013 Open Championship.
Coming off last week’s Sony Open in Hawaii victory, his second win of the season, Patton Kizzire opened with a 2-under 70 on the Stadium Course.
Kizzire is making his third start in the CareerBuilder Challenge this week, having finished T42 in 2016 and T50 last season.
Kizzire, the only two-time PGA TOUR winner this season, collected his first career TOUR victory at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November.
Palm Springs High School senior Charlie Reiter, 18, overcame bogeys on two of his first four holes at La Quinta Country Club with an eagle-3 at the fifth. He made birdies at Nos. 6, 9, 11, 13 and 14 to post a 4-under 68.
Mark Brooks, 56, opened with a 4-under 68 on the Stadium Course 22 years after winning the event in 1996.
Other Miscellaneous Notes
Thirteen past champions of the CareerBuilder Challenge are in this week’s field: Mark Brooks/1996 (68/SC), Phil Mickelson/2002, 2004 (70/LQ), Mike Weir/2003 (74/NT), Chad Campbell/2006 (69/SC), D.J. Trahan/2008 (71/NT), Bill Haas/2010, 2015 (72/SC), Jhonattan Vegas/2011 (65/NT), Mark Wilson/2012 (78/SC), Brian Gay/2013 (68/SC), Patrick Reed/2014 (74/NT), Jason Dufner/2016 (69/LQ) and Hudson Swafford/2017 (66/LQ). Corey Pavin/1987, 1991 (WD).
First-Round Scoring Averages
Stadium Course 70.843
Nicklaus Tournament Course 68.692
La Quinta Country Club 68.442
A total of 25 players played round one without a bogey or worse in round one.
After 17 holes, 1987 and 1991 CareerBuilder Challenge winner Corey Pavin withdrew with a neck injury. He will be replaced for amateur purposes by Ken Duke, who will not receive official money.