Nov 16, 2018: Charles Howell III knew he needed to take advantage of Thursday’s tee time on Sea Island’s Plantation Course.
It was cold and windy during the first round of The RSM Classic. The inland Plantation Course, with its tree-lined fairways, protected players from the worst of the weather, though. Plantation played nearly a stroke under par Thursday, while players averaged more than one stroke over par on the Sea Island Resort’s Seaside Course.
Howell lowered Plantation’s scoring average even more with an 8-under 64 that gave him a two-shot lead after The RSM Classic’s first-round lead.
He hit every fairway and every green for the first time in his career. It was the seventh time he hit all 18 greens in a single round.
“I think sometimes playing these difficult conditions it forces you to stay a bit more present, it forces you to stay kind of in the moment a bit,” he said. “It’s hard to get too far ahead of yourself because of the difficulty of every shot coming.”
Howell will play Seaside on Friday. Friday’s forecast isn’t much friendlier. Temperatures are expected to be in the 40s when the first groups tee off.
Howell has three top-10s at The RSM Classic, and an even longer history on St. Simons Island. He grew up three hours away in Augusta and has been traveling here since he was child. He also owned a home in the area.
“I’ve had time to be home, I’ve had time to work with my instructors just to kind of get everything reset and start anew,” Howell said. The 39-year-old has two PGA TOUR victories in more than 500 starts.