Charley Hoffman of Poway and Ryan Palmer were not pleased to see that they were projected to finish 12th and last in Power Rankings on the PGA Tour’s on-line page earlier this week.
So Hoffman (pictured, right) and Palmer (left) went out and posted a score of 16-under-par 56 to tie the scramble scoring record in the 34th QBE Shootout on the Gold Course at Tiburón Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Resort in Naples, Fla., taking a two-stroke lead over Max Homa and Kevin Kisner, and Corey Conners of Canada and K.H. Lee of South Korea.
“After Ryan read it on-line and pointed it out to me, I took a look, too,” said Hoffman, who tied for third three times in six appearances in the tournament. “We used that as a little bit of incentive out there today and put together a great round.
“Ryan told me at the beginning of the week we needed to tie his (scramble) record of 17 under. All in all, we put ourselves in great positions to make birdies. I would say very low stress all day long. I was able to hit some good drives and we were able to capitalize on pretty much all of our shots.”
Added Palmer, whose best finish in the tournament also is a tie for third: “Tomorrow is a tougher format (modified alternate-shot), but it sure helps to jump-start your tournament when you can shoot a low one on the first round. If we’re both hitting it well, I think we’ll have a lot of chances.”
Palmer and Hoffman started fast with the first of their three eagles on the opening hole, then collected 10 birdies and added eagles on the 10th and 18th holes in their 56, never going more than two holes without a birdie and doing that only once.
Homa, from Valencia and Cal, and Kisner eagled No. 17 to go along with 11 birdies in their 58, which Lee and Conners equaled with their own eagle at No. 17 plus six of their 11 birdies on the first seven holes.
Keith Mitchell and J.J. Spaun of Los Angeles and San Diego State made six birdies and an eagle on the 14th hole while shooting 60 and are four shots down in a tie for fourth with three-time champions Harris English and Matt Kuchar, who eagled No. 6 to go with 10 birdies; Tom Hoge and Sahith Theegala of Chino Hills and Pepperdine, who finished their round with an eagle at No. 13 and six straight birdies; Lexi Thompson and Maverick McNealy of Stanford, who birdied eight of the last 10 holes; Nelly Korda and Denny McCarthy, who had seven birdies on the front nine before adding five on the last six holes, and Sepp Straka of Austria and Brian Harman, who eagled the first and 17th holes to go with four birdies on each nine.
Jason Day of Australia and Billy Horschel eagled No. 17 to go with nine birdies in a 61 and are five behind in a tie for 10th with Scott Stallings and Trey Mullinax, who had birdies on the last six holes and eight of their 11 on the back nine, while Steve Stricker and Cameron Young are six strokes back in 12th after making an eagle at No. 17 to go with six of their eight birdies on the front nine.
As mentioned above, the second round will be played in the modified alternate-shot format, with four-ball, otherwise known as best-ball, scheduled for the final round.
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