13 September 2019: The PGA TOUR barely sleeps, rolling smoothly like a machine that means constant business. After a two week hiatus to celebrate the stars of a bygone season, A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier serves to kindle fresh hopes and new aspirations. Robby Shelton, the owner of a card for the first time, shot an impressive 62 to gain a two-stroke advantage over Scott Harrington, Mark Hubbard, Kevin Na, Lanto Griffin and Zack Sucher. Joaquin Niemann and Harold Varner III, both regarded highly by pundits, got their show going with a five-under 65.
Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri is seeking to stamp his authority on the TOUR with a commanding effort this week. After a troubled season, Anirban showed plenty of gumption by securing his card with a couple of impressive performance in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals in August. He started the week with a 67, with the lone blemish on his card coming on the ninth, his last hole for the round.
Arjun Atwal may be inching towards the Senior Tour, but he is in no mood to slow down. The Florida resident made two birdies in three holes at the tenth to secure a 68 to his name. He is lying T53 at the end of the first round.
An eagle at the 12th hole got Anirban’s season off to a flyer, as he chipped in from nearly forty feet to find the centre of the cup. Another good putt from eight feet on the 16th took him to three-under as he made the turn with supreme confidence. The Indian moved to four-under with another birdie at the first hole.
But the fairway bunker on the par-4 ninth hole proved to be his undoing. Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri reached the green in four and settled for a bogey on his final hole of the round.
PGA TOUR Notes
- Defending champion Kevin Na (T2) begins strong in bid to become the event’s first multiple winner
- 38-year-old PGA TOUR rookie Scott Harrington posted a 6-under 64 in just his fifth PGA TOUR start; has two made cuts on TOUR (T46/2013 The Genesis Invitational, T75/2006 John Deere Classic)
- Mark Hubbard turned in a bogey-free 6-under 64 in his return to the TOUR after failing to retain his card during the 2016-17 season (No. 184 in the FedExCup standings)
- Harold Varner III hit all 14 fairways en route to an opening-round 5-under 65, marking the second time in his PGA TOUR career he has performed the feat (2015 Mayakoba Golf Classic/R3)
- Joaquin Niemann’s 5-under 65 was his seventh round of 65 or better in his last 30 rounds on TOUR (23%); by comparison, he had seven rounds of 65 or better in his first 117 rounds on TOUR (6%)
- Greenbrier resident Bubba Watson carded a 1-under 69, his 18th round (out of 21) in the 60s at this event; his 384-yard drive on the par-5 12th hole marked the longest of his career at The Old White TPC
- Bryson DeChambeau returned to A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier for the second time (T14/2017), posting 2-under 68
- A day after winning the Arnold Palmer Award as the PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year, Sungjae Im (4-under 66) made a hole-in-one on the par-3 15th hole with a 4-iron from 223 yards; is the first player since Tiger Woods to make multiple aces on the PGA TOUR before the age of 22; other ace came at the 2019 THE PLAYERS Championship (No. 13)
- Zach Johnson opened his first start at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier with a 1-under 69; 2018-19 marked the first season on TOUR he finished outside the top 150 in the FedExCup standings (No. 154)
- Marc Leishman withdrew following the round with a back injury
R1 (11): Mark Hubbard (64), Brian Harman (65), Joaquin Niemann (65), Doug Ghim (65), J.J. Spaun (66), Nick Watney (66), Peter Malnati (66), Adam Long (66), Harry Higgs (67), Jason Dufner (67), Bryson DeChambeau (68)