Hall Shoots 62, Leads English by Four Strokes in Charles Schwab Challenge

Harry Hall of England was in a class by himself.

The 25-year-old rookie Hall, who is seeking his first PGA Tour victory, shot a brilliant, eight-under-par 62 and holds a four-stroke lead over Harris English after the first round of the 77th Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

“I changed up my routine and played 36 holes of practice at Colonial this week,” said Hall, whose only professional victory came in the 2022 NV5 Old National Bank Invitational on the Korn Ferry, and he tied for third in the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour Championship. “Maybe that’s the key, just to see a bit more of the course than I have done in the past. I didn’t do too much different. I kind of just made things a little bit more simple.

“I was really in the moment out there and determined to play some good golf. The seven-out-of-seven scrambles for pars doesn’t really surprise me because that’s the best part of my game, but the way I hit the ball the first two-thirds of that round was pretty special.

“Hopefully I will still be where I am the end of the week.”

Hall, who played college golf at UNLV, collected five birdies on the front nine and added three more coming home in his bogey-free round, in addition to sinking par saves from 15 and 30 feet while needing only 22 putts.

English, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, made the last two of his six birdies against a single bogey on his last two holes while finishing on the front nine.

“It’s been trending in the right direction,” said English, who is coming back from him surgery and claimed his last victory in the 2021 Travelers Championship. “I’ve played good in some elevated events, and it’s great coming back to a place this week that I really, really enjoy. I love the town. I love this golf course, and I’ve some good finishes here.

“I didn’t really have any expectations today. I know kind of how difficult this course can play. It doesn’t seem that difficult, but it can always sneak up and bite you. I feel like my play from tee to green was great today. Putting was good today. I just kind of all around did what I was supposed to do.

“I guess with them kind of redoing the course right after we finish, the greens are going to get pretty spicy, I’m sure, this weekend.”

Andrew Putnam of Pepperdine birdied four of his first 10 holes en route to a 66 and is tied for third with Tom Hoge, who holed out for an eagle from 154 yards on the seventh hole, Adam Schenk, who played bogey-free, and Robby Shelton, who made two birdies on each nine in another bogey-free round.

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler made two birdies down the stretch in a 67 and is in a huge tie for seventh with seventh-ranked Max Homa of Valencia and Cal, who had four birdies on the back nine; defending champion Sam Burns, who birdied four of his first 11 holes; Michael Kim of San Diego and Cal; David Lipsky of Los Angeles;  Austin Smotherman; Ryan Fox of Australia; Si Woo Kim of South Korea; Billy Horschel; Chez Reavie; Dylan Frittelli of South Africa; Emiliano Grillo of  Argentina; Ben Griffin; Min Woo Lee Australia, and Byeong Hun An of South Korea.

Sixth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway is tied for 68th at 71.

Michael Block, Head Teaching Pro at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo who was media star last week in the 105th PGA Championship with a hole in one and a tie for 15th, came back down to earth.

The 46-year-old Block seven bogeys and three double bogeys in an 81 and is in 150th, or last place.

“If you are a golfer, you’ve had the day I’ve had,” Block said after the worst score by four shots behind Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia. “You understand the facts of where the lies aren’t good and the trees are in your way every time. Even your good shots are bad, your bad shots are worse. It is what it is and I’m going to live with it. I thought it was going to happen that third or fourth round last week at Oak Hill, and it never happened. It happened now, and I wasn’t surprised by it, to tell you the truth.

“I’m looking forward to coming out tomorrow and playing a great round and giving it everything I have Then I’ll be seeing my kids and my wife tomorrow night in Orange County, California. It’s all good one, way or the other.”

Ben Hogan won this tournament the first time it was played in 1946 and went on to claim the title a record five times.

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