Tom Hoge has been starting to hang around the top of leaderboards on the PGA Tour and he led the birdie/eagle barrage at TPC Summerlin Thursday and is the leader at the Shriners Children’s Open.
Hoge put four birdies and a pair of eagles on his scorecard for an opening 63 — eight-under par on a course that readily surrenders low scores. “I didn’t know where things would stand coming out today,” said Hoge, who had taken the past two weeks off and spent them fishing off the coast of Mexico after he was passed over for the U.S. Presidents Cup team. “It was an interesting day,” Hoge said. “I feel like I missed some very makeable birdie putts, but I holed some real nice, long ones for eagle on 16 and some other long ones. Certainly happy with the score, but I’ve got to make a lot of birdies the next few days.”
Hoge was spot on. Going low is a must. Sungjae Im won last year at this championship, shooting 24-under par and the defending champion put himself in the mix with an opening 65.
The last time Si Woo Kim was seen, he was upsetting Justin Thomas in their singles match at the Presidents Cup. Kim made no secret that he gained a lot of confidence from that match and it showed on day one as he put together a seven-under par 64 that had him just two shots behind Hoge along with young Maverick McNealy, who’s looking for his first tour victory. McNealy, who now lives in Las Vegas, had a big gallery on Thursday and if he stays in contention, those numbers could grow over the weekend.
Mr. Excitement, Tom Kim, kept his Presidents Cup momentum and was tied with Im at 65 in a group of eight.
In all, a total of 79 players broke 70 an it might take four-under par to make the 36-hole cut. Rickie Fowler and hometown guy Taylor Montgomery were on the bubble with first round 70s.
World No. 4, Patrick Cantlay, had a quiet day as he turned in a four-under par 67. Same for Max Homa, who went 4-0-0 at the Presidents Cup.