In a field featuring many of the PGA Tour’s young guns, a couple of older guys are on top of the leaderboard.
Charley Hoffman (pictured) and Jimmy Walker carded 8-under-par 64s to tie Kevin Chappell and defending champion Sebastian Munoz of Colombia for the lead after the first round of the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson in Jackson, Miss.
“I’ve had some success on this course before,” said the 43-year-old Hoffman, from Poway and UNLV, who shot 64 in round two en route to a tie for 23rd in this event last year. “You have to be in position off the tee and on the greens, to make some birdies, and the greens are fast so you don’t want to be above the hole.
“I had a good game plan today. These young guys are hitting the ball so far these days that I’ve been trying to gain distance the last couple months. I’ve never been short, but I’m trying to keep up, swinging harder and faster, but still hitting the ball straight.”
Hoffman, who has won four times on the PGA Tour but not since the 2016 Valero Texas Open, collected five of his nine birdies on the front nine and made his only bogey on the eighth hole.
Walker, who hasn’t won since the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol, has been battling an injury and missed the cut in six of his last seven stars, made four birdies on each nine in his bogey-free round.
“I’ve had some tendinitis in my elbow, shoulder has been hurting, so it’s been tough,” said Walker, who has won six times on the PGA Tour. “My elbow was really hurting. I’ve never had anything like that ever before, and it was pretty painful.
“So I didn’t know really what to expect. I showed up on Tuesday and hit some balls and hit some balls yesterday, and was just trying to take it easy. So I’m thrilled, ecstatic, excited. It was fun.”
Said Munoz: “I don’t know, the energy of this place, I really like it. I just kind of thrive on it.”
Chappell, playing on a Major Medical extension after microdiscetomy surgery, said: “I hadn’t done myself any favors coming back—poor scheduling, poor play, maybe came back a little early. But I kind of feel like I got my feet under me, getting more comfortable being on the road, being away from my family, and so the focus is just enjoying it and playing good golf, and the results will come.”
Munoz, who beat Sungjae Im in a playoff to win in Jackson last year, collected five of nine birdies on the back nine in his 65, while Chappell, from Fresno and UCLA, birdied his last two holes in another bogey-free 64.
Michael Gligic of Canada holed a 13-foot eagle putt en route to a 65 and is tied for fifth with MJ Daffue of South Africa, who made a five-foot birdie putt on the last hole.
Keegan Bradley, who won the 2011 PGA Championship, sank 17-foot eagle putt at No. 11 on his way to a bogey-free 66 and is tied for seventh with Anirban Lahiri of India and J.T. Poston, who also were bogey-free, Talor Gooch and Cameron Davis of Australia.
For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html