KORN FERRY TOUR FINALS
David Skinns opens in 7-under 64 at Albertsons Boise Open
September 14, 2018
By Preston Smith, PGATOUR.COM
- September 14, 2018
- Englishman David Skinns could secure his first PGA TOUR card with a strong weekend at Hillcrest CC. (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
BOISE, Idaho – Teeing off in the final group of the afternoon, David Skinns used a late run – including a birdie-par-birdie finish – to card a 7-under 64 and lead after the first round at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco. Seven players are within two strokes of the lead at Hillcrest Country Club.
In 2017, Skinns withdrew from the Albertsons Boise Open, despite sitting T9 after two rounds, when he learned his wife, Kristin, was about to give birth. The Englishman flew home to Atlanta to see the birth of his second son, Bennett.
"Last year was just good memories for me in general," Skinns said. "It was a shame that I didn't get to finish the tournament, but it was a great time in my life ...There were about two minutes where I sat on my bed contemplating (once I heard), but it was no more than that. I was required, and I knew that, so it was a no-brainer in the end."
Skinns started his round in style, making birdie on three straight before settling in to make the turn at 4-under 32. After sandwiching a bogey at No. 12 with birdies on Nos. 11 and 13, Skinns birdied two of the last three to take the solo lead by a stroke. The 36-year-old mentioned Hillcrest Country Club as reminiscent of courses he played growing up in England.
“I like everything about this course,” Skinns said. “It looks a lot like England to be honest, looks a lot like the parkland courses I grew up playing, which is hard to believe when you tell people that. Everyone thinks links golf over there. But it looks similar to what I was used to and it just seems to shape well for me.”
The University of Tennessee alum specifically discussed the par-4 ninth as a turning point in his round.
“On nine, I decided to hit driver, which not everyone does, but I ended up stymied under a tree even though I only had 100 yards to the front of the green,” Skinns said. “I hit this little chippy-cut 6-iron and it came out exactly as I saw it in my mind. It landed just short and rolled up to eight feet, and then I made the putt. That was a momentum-gainer for sure.”
Statistically, Skinns enjoyed a very accurate day. He hit 16 out of 18 greens in regulation and all 14 fairways. He birdied each of the three par-5s.
Teeing off in the morning wave, Sangmoon Bae briefly enjoyed the clubhouse lead at 6-under 65. He posted six birdies in an eight-hole stretch (Nos. 15 through 4) to reach 7-under before falling back to 6-under on the day. At $38,156, Bae sits 12th on the Finals money list and is on the verge of earning TOUR status for the 2018-19 season. The top-10 earners have all locked up their PGA TOUR cards in the first two Finals events. Bae competed on the PGA TOUR during the 2017-18 season after two years of mandatory military service in South Korea.
Early in the afternoon wave, Fabian Gomez matched Bae’s mark with an opening-round 65. The 39-year-old Argentine took advantage of the par-5 16th hole with an eagle, one of six eagles at the 16th. The 535-yard hole played as the second-easiest hole on the course. Gomez has won on many different levels of professional golf. Professional wins include once on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada (2009), three times on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica (2013, 2014, 2015), once on the Web.com Tour (2010) and twice on the PGA TOUR (2015, 2016). Most recently, he won in a playoff over Brandt Snedeker at the 2016 Sony Open in Hawaii.
Later in the afternoon, Martin Trainer capped his round with a birdie at the ninth to enter a three-way tie for second. Trainer is looking to improve his position as a member of The 25 players that have already secured their 2018-19 PGA TOUR card. Trainer, who currently sits sixth in The 25, won twice on the Web.com Tour in 2018: first at the El Bosque Mexico Championship by Innova in March and again at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper in July.