A leader who’s surprised he’s leading. A contender who opened … with an 8? And bubble boys. Thursday’s first round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., had a little bit of everything. Let’s take a look.
John Huh leads
John Huh admitted that he “wasn’t feeling really great” with his game. Ahead of this week, he had finished like this in five tournaments since the start of July: cut (John Deere Classic), cut (Barbasol Classic), tie for 55th (Barracuda Championship), cut (3M Open), tie for 57th at last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic.
He shot a nine-under 61, good for the lowest round of his professional career.
And yes, he’s just as surprised as you.
“I’m actually surprised I’m at the top of the leaderboard, yeah, to be quite honest with you,” Huh said. “I didn’t really feel my game was there, but it’s one of those days where I took advantage of some good shots and good breaks, I think.”
Indeed. Huh birdied six of his first nine holes for a front-nine 29, added an eagle on the par-5 15th and a birdie on 17, and he leads by two over Sungjae Im, and by three over Peter Malnati and Brandon Wu. Im and Malnati each bogeyed just one hole; Wu none.
“It’s kind of strange because like earlier I mentioned, I wasn’t really felt great with my game and shoot my career low, it’s kind of weird,” Huh said. “Sort of mixed feeling, but I’ll take this any day. I was able to take advantage of a good break and good shots, that’s all I can say today.”
Joohyung Kim opens with an 8 — and shoots three-under
The day’s most bizarre scorecard belonged to Joohyung Kim, who took six shots to reach just the fringe on the par-4 1st, took two more strokes for a quad eight — then made seven birdies and 10 pars from there for a three-under 67.
According to the PGA Tour, Kim is the third player since 2003 to make a quadruple bogey or worse on the first hole of a round and go on to shoot an under-par score. The others who have pulled off the feat are Hank Lebioda at the 2019 Barbasol Championship, and Freddie Jacobson at the 2010 American Express.
“I was laughing,” Kim said. “There was like nothing I could do. It was just the first hole and gosh, I just got a really bad lie and then didn’t really have another good lie and didn’t really have another good lie, didn’t really have another good lie. It turned out not bad.”
FedEx Cup bubble
The Wyndham also is the last event of the Tour’s regular season, with the top 125 players in the season-long FedEx Cup standings moving on to the start of next week’s playoffs. So who’s on the bubble?
According to the Tour’s live tracker, players No. 120-130 on Thursday night were: No. 120 Matthias Schwab (who shot a first-round 74 and was tied for 141st); No. 121 Patton Kizzire (71, tied for 109th); No. 122 Webb Simpson (71, tied for 109th); No. 123 Lucas Glover (70, tied for 79th); No. 124 Brian Stuard (65, tied for fifth); No. 125 Chesson Hadley (69, tied for 58th); No. 126 Kelly Kraft (66, tied for 14th); No. 127 Rickie Fowler (71, tied for 109th); No. 128 (71, tied for 109th); No. 129 Max McGreevy (68, tied for 41st); and No. 130 Danny Willett (75, tied for 148th);
Notably, the live tracker does not include any of the players who have left for LIV Golf and are suspended. It is undetermined how the standings will officially look after Sunday’s play, though Golf Digest is reporting that the playoffs will include 125 Tour players.
Also to be determined is the fate of the three LIV players — Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones — who have petitioned a court to issue a temporary restraining order allowing their participation in the playoffs. That case will be heard on Tuesday.