Emergency 9: THE NORTHERN TRUST, Round 1
August 23, 2018
By Mike Glasscott, PGATOUR.COM
Brooks Koepka eagles No. 17 at THE NORTHERN TRUST
Here are nine tidbits from the first round of THE NORTHERN TRUST gamers can use tomorrow, this weekend or down the road. Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey is hosting for the fourth time since 2008 and plays 7,385 yards to a Par-71.
Know Thy Enemy
These were the top-10 selected, plus one, golfers in the PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf game presented by SERVPRO.
The first round leaders posted 66 (-5) for the highest opening round score in four events at Ridgewood Country Club. Not even soft conditions and lift-clean and replace after rain on Wednesday and into Thursday morning could help scoring. Tucked pin placements and bushy, thick rough also helped keep scores in check in Round 1. Rob Bolton suggests that the early-late draw would have a slight advantage.
Gamers: A summertime bull's-eye of ideal conditions are expected throughout @TheNTGolf. Winds might freshen a touch midday on Thursday, so the early-late draw figures to have an edge.— Rob Bolton (@RobBoltonGolf) August 23, 2018
NOTE: No. 9 is being used as a split tee due to its proximity to the beer garden. pic.twitter.com/NtOhr2Ag1K
Unusual Suspects Part I
All three leaders started their rounds ranked No. 85 or WORSE in the FedExCup Standings but after Round 1 they would stand third, fourth and fifth. Kevin Tway (No. 85) rattled off six birdies against one bogey to continue his solid vein of form. He's cashed in 10 of his last 11 and closed 65-65 for T11 at Wyndham last week. ... Jamie Lovemark (No. 86) cashed his last top 10 on his own ball at the Honda in late February. He bogeyed his last hole to shoot 66 in the first round for the second week running. It was his only bogey of the day.
Unusual Suspects II
Vaughn Taylor (No. 112) was the co-leader with Tiger Woods here in 2010 on 65 before finishing T5. Taylor had the most active scorecard of the leading troika has circled eight birdies against three bogeys. ... Gamers have seen this old trick from Sean O'Hair before. He entered the 2016 FedExCup Playoffs at No. 108 and finished T2 behind Patrick Reed at another A.W. Tillinghast course, Bethpage Black. O'Hair's last of two top-10 finishes was T2 at Valero in April. Don't get too excited as none of these four players have won this season and Tway and Lovemark have never won on TOUR.
The heaviest selections this week were named Justin but it's the one that in the stars and stripes who was the most popular selection. The defending FedExCup champion appeared on almost half of the rosters this week and got off to a decent start but he's one of TWENTY TWO players who signed for 68 (-2), good for T27. He played the Par-3 holes in two-under and the other 14 holes even.
The U.S. Open and PGA Champion isn't showing any signs of his season being finished after opening with 67 (-4). An eagle and four birdies wiped out a pair of bogeys as Brooks Koepka checked in at No. 3 in Strokes-Gained: Off-the-Tee but it was his scrambling (5 of 6) that kept him just one back.
World No. 1 and FedExCup points leader Dustin Johnson played with Thomas and Koepka in the marquee pairing in the morning wave. The event defending champion ate a triple-bogey eight after a wayward tee shot on No. 17 to throw away a four-under start. He added three more birdies on the front to post 67 (-4). The triple was a double-whammy for Johnson as it came on a Par-5 hole that I would have guessed he would have birdied. That's a four-shot swing and a three-shot lead but there's not a category on the scorecard for "what-if".
Don't Panic, Yet
The other Justin, Justin Rose, opened with 72 (+1) and will need a decent round tomorrow to play the weekend. Yes, there is a cut! The top 70 and ties advance to the weekend and the top 79 players after Round 1 are even. ... It was a tough day for Thomas Bjorn's Ryder Cup made men as Jon Rahm signed for 75 and was T108 from a field of 118. ... Open Champion Francesco Molinari looked human as his ice-cold putter matched Rose on 72 and shares T80.
The top 100 will advance to the next round of the FedExCup Playoffs next week at the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston. Here's how the guys under the gun are performing:
Round 1 saw 59 players post red figures as the scoring average was 70.546 (-0.454). ... Trey Mullinax and Rafa Cabrera-Bello posted the only bogey-free rounds. ... Joining Taylor with eight birdies was Bronson Burgoon (T18). ... Last week's winner Brandt Snedeker missed the Pro-Am yesterday morning with back spasms. They didn't subside and he was forced to WD before the start of play in Round 1. ... Grayson Murray (No. 113) returned to action for the first time since June last week at Sedgefield and MC. He began this week No. 115 before WD and ending his season after Round 1.