By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
LAS VEGAS -- As expected, scores were low early at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, but some of the tournament's favorites failed to break par in Thursday's easy conditions.
One of Thursday's featured groups -- Jimmy Walker, Nick Watney and Angel Cabrera -- was a combined 4 over par. Walker, who won last week's Frys.com Open, was low man in the group with an even-par 71. Watney and Cabrera both shot 73. Watney had finished in the top 10 at this event for three consecutive years. Cabrera, runner-up at this year's Masters, played in the recent Presidents Cup.
Brendon de Jonge, runner-up at this event last year, opened with 74. “You go three or four holes without making a birdie and everyone’s jumping past you, ” de Jonge said earlier in the week. His Presidents Cup teammate, Graham DeLaet, shot 1-over 72.
The winning score at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open has been 20 under par or lower in four of the past five years. This tournament became a 72-hole event held exclusively at TPC Summerlin in 2008; the winner in that time span has never shot higher than 67 in the first round. The eventual winner has averaged 63.8 in the first round.
Brooks Koepka, who finished third at last week's Frys.com Open in his first career TOUR start (excluding majors), shot 71, as did Kevin Na, the 2011 champion here. Na was coming off a third-place finish at the Frys.com Open after consecutive 64s on the weekend at CordeValle Golf Club. Wyndham Championship winner Patrick Reed was 8 over par after his first eight holes.