Sucher's 60 leads at Albertsons Boise Open
July 18, 2014
By Joe Chemycz, PGATOUR.COM
- Zack Sucher's 60 matched the lowest first-round score in Web.com Tour history. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
BOISE, Idaho – Thursday’s opening round of the Albertsons Boise Open was the easiest in 25 years at Hillcrest Country Club so it seemed only fitting that somebody would post the lowest opening score in tournament history. That somebody was 27-year-old Zack Sucher (soo-ker), who chalked up 10 birdies en route to an 11-under-par 60, which also matched the lowest first-round score in Web.com Tour history.
“That’s probably the best round I’ve ever played,” said Sucher, who started with a 6-under 29 on the back nine and had five birdies and an eagle in a six-hole stretch. “This is the right way to start an event.”
Nobody has ever started better. Sucher is only the seventh player to ever begin with a round of 60. The Birmingham, Ala., resident was 9-under through 13 holes and was approaching the rarified air of a possible score in the 50’s.
“I think anytime you shoot a 29 on the front it crossed your mind a little bit,” he said of a magical 59. “I really started thinking that it was doable when I birdied number four. I thought I had a chance. I just needed three more. I had some chances on six and eight but missed them both.”
Sucher rolled in a 10-footer on the final hole for his round of 60 and a two-stroke lead over Cleveland Open winner Steven Alker, who birdied five of his first six holes. Alker’s 62 is the same score he shot in the first round last year when he and Hunter Haas shared the 18-hole lead.
Canada’s Nick Taylor posted an 8-under 63 and holds down third place after the record-setting opening day. Timothy O’Neal of Savannah is one of seven players at 7-under 64. Joining him are Alex Aragon, Steve Wheatcroft, James Nitties, Casey Wittenberg, Chase Wright and Brian Prouty.
When the dust, or smoke from nearby forest fires, settled late in the day 135 of 156 players were at par or better. The par-71 scoring average of 68.596 bettered the 69.026 record first-day mark of 2013.
“The course this week is a little soft and it’s receptive,” said Alker. “You know you can fire at some pins and you know you can go after it.”
It didn’t matter where Sucher started (he hit only 8 of 14 fairways), he gave himself plenty of birdie chances and then cashed in with a putter that’s been causing some problems of late.
“It’s pretty crazy. I’ve really been struggling with my putting,” said Sucher, who entered the week No. 23 on the money list. “This was awesome.”
Sucher’s turnaround on the greens may have been a direct result of an equipment adjustment.
“I went to the guys in the (equipment repair) van this week and one of them thought my putter looked pretty upright,” he said. “It was two degrees more upright than it was six weeks ago.”
A little bend here, a little push there and voila, Sucher was cashing in from everywhere.
“I made a few long ones (3) and a couple of mid-range birdies and I didn’t miss any short ones,” he said needing only 24 putts.
Zach Sucher is the two-shot leader at Albertsons Boise Open
Zach Sucher is the two-shot leader at Albertsons Boise Open
FIRST ROUND NOTES:
• Thursday weather: Smoky/hazy during the day with visibility as low as 2 miles due to forest fires in eastern Oregon (approximately 85 miles away). Wind N-NW 5 mph. Daytime high of 98.
ZACK SUCHER (soo-ker)
• Sucher has made the cut in 10 of 15 starts this year. He has three top-10 finishes and entered the week No. 23 on the money list. His best week was a T5 at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.
• Sucher’s career-best finish on Tour is a T2 at the 2013 South Georgia Classic, where he was a Monday qualifier.
• Sucher’s 60 today matched the lowest opening round in Tour history:
Jimmy Green Raleigh CC, Raleigh, N.C. 1998 Carolina Classic (11-under) Chris Nallen Whirlwind GC (Cattail), Chandler, Ariz. 2004 Gila River Golf Classic (12-under) Brenden Pappas Le Triomphe CC, Broussard, La. 2007 Chitimacha Louisiana Open (11-under) Chris Thompson Champions Run, Omaha, Neb. 2007 Cox Classic (11-under) Michael Letzig Barona Creek GC, Lakeside, Calif. 2007 Web.com Tour Championship at Barona Creek (11-under) Travis Hampshire Carolina CC, Spartanburg, S.C. 2011 BMW Charity Pro-Am (12-under) Zack Sucher Hillcrest CC, Boise, ID 2014 Albertsons Boise Open (11-under)
• Of the previous six players to shoot 60 in the first round, only Chris Nallen went on to win that week. Nallen was making his first career start and also went wire-to-wire in winning the 2004 Gila River Golf Classic.
• Sucher’s 60 today is the lowest score on the Web.com Tour this year. Jon Curran shot a 10-under 61 in the Brasil Champions and Adam Crawford had a 10-under 61 at last week’s Utah Championship.
• Sucher’s round of 60 is the second-lowest score ever in the 25 years the tournament has been held at Hillcrest CC. Russell Knox posted a 12-under 59 in the second round last year. Knox went on to finish T12.
• Sucher’s round of 60 is the lowest opening-round score this year. Jon Curran opened with a 61 at the Brasil Champions – and went on to a wire-to-wire victory.
• Sucher’s 29 on the back nine is his second such score this year. He also posted a 6-under 29 in R2 of the Air Capital Classic in Wichita, Kan.
• Sucher had a 7-under par birdie-eagle streak that started on the back nine. Sucher went B-E-B-B-B-B on holes 15-2. His streak is the best on Tour this year and it matches the 7-under streak that Russell Knox posted last year (Nos. 2-7) during his round of 59.
• Sucher’s career-low round of 60 today bettered the score of 63 (7-under) he posted in the second round of the Air Capital Classic last month in Wichita.
• This is only the second time in Sucher’s Web.com Tour career he has held/shared the lead after any single round. His 6-under 65 to begin the 2013 Mylan Classic near Pittsburgh was good for a one-shot lead over six others. Sucher went on to finish T10 at Southpointe GC.
• Steven Alker’s 9-under 62 matches his second-lowest score in 203 career starts on the Web.com Tour. Alker posted a 10-under 61 in the third round of the 2013 Utah Championship, which he won. He also shot a 9-under 62 in last year’s opening round of the Albertsons Boise Open (T40).
• Alker is a four-time winner on the Web.com Tour. He collected win No. 4 in early June when he defeated Dawie van der Walt on the 11th playoff hole at the inaugural Cleveland Open. Alker also collected wins at the 2002 Louisiana Open, the 2009 HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship and the 2013 Utah Championship.
• Steve Wheatcroft ran off a string of seven consecutive birdies (Nos. 15-3) en route to his 7-under 64. The birdie streak is the longest in the tournament’s 25-year run at Hillcrest CC. Michael Muehr (1999), Jason Kokrak (2011) and Erik Flores (2013) each had stretches of six in a row.
• Wheatcroft’s seven in a row is the second-best stretch on Tour this year. Jon Curran had eight in a row during the rain-delayed second round of the Brasil Champions. Chris Baker also had seven birdies in a row during the final round of the Chile Classic.
• Cory Whitsett used a sand wedge for a hole-in-one at the 123-yard, 17th hole. Whitsett shot a 4-under 67.
• Andrew Putnam made an eagle-2 at the downhill, 359-yard, 10th hole. There have been only 13 eagles total at that hole in the previous 24 years and, strangely, all of the previous eagles on No. 10 have come in odd-numbered years: 1991 – 1 1993 – 1 1995 – 1 2003 – 2 2005 – 1 2007 – 1 2009 – 1 2011 – 2 2013 – 3 2014 – 1
• Bogey-free rounds this week:
64 – Timothy O’Neal, Chase Wright, Brian Prouty
65 – Matt Davidson, Zac Blair
66 – Daniel Chopra, Andres Echavarria
67 – Nick Rousey, Mackenzie Hughes, Roberto Diaz, Tony Finau, Fran Quinn, Mike Ballo, Jr.
68 – Kevin Tway, Matt Weibring, Steve Saunders
71 – Billy Mayfair
• NEXT WEEK: The Web.com Tour heads to the Kansas City area for the Midwest Classic at Nicklaus GC at LionsGate July 21-27. Last year, Jamie Lovemark earned his second career win with a one-stroke victory. Lovemark posted an 18-under 266 total to top Mark Anderson and collect a first-place check for $108,000.