Most of the top PGA players are resting up for next week’s U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, but that didn’t keep them out of the limelight on the first day of the FedEx St. Jude Open in Memphis.
On the same day that tour veteran Jeff Maggert and John Merrick shot matching 4-under 66 in the first round, the USGA announced the pairings for next week’s Open.
And there are some eye-openers.
Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Masters Champion Bubba Watson have a 7:30 a.m. (PT) tee time on Thursday. They will come back the following afternoon at 1:29 p.m. (PT) for the second round.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy will be on the other side of the draw on Thursday, starting at 1:29 p.m. off the first tee. The world’s second-ranked player, McIlroy is grouped with No. 1 Luke Donald and No.3 Lee Westwood.
Here are the other pairings:
Meanwnhile, Maggert took advantage of teeing off in the first group with calm conditions for the first seven holes at the FedEx Open and finished with four birdies, an eagle and two bogeys.
The early bird ended up with a share of the lead in the first round of the Champions Tour Regions Tradition on Thursday.
Bill Glasson was among the first twosome to tee off in the tour’s second major of the season and he rattled off a tidy 6-under, 66 before lunch was served at Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala.
Later in the day, Dan Forsman went on a four-in-a-row birdie spree to also open with a 66.
Glasson, who needed just 3 ½ hours to play the round, spent the afternoon staying cool and not jumping to conclusions.
“My philosophy is I need all the birdies to make up for the impending bogeys I’m going to make,” he said. “So it doesn’t do any good for me to watch. I just need to make as many birdies as I can.
“This course will get you, there’s no doubt about it. It’s about one of the best courses in the country.”
Glasson has overcome tougher obstacles. He has undergone 25 surgeries, including back and neck fusions. This is the first time he’s held at least a share of the lead since the 1997 Las Vegas Invitational, where he claimed the last of his seven PGA Tour titles.
Fred Funk was a stroke back, and Bernhard Langer opened with a 68. Glasson, Forsman and Funk all had their sons working as caddies.
Forsman, who missed the cut at the Senior PGA two weeks ago, set the stage by asking son Tommy for a driver on the first tee, instead of playing it more conservatively with a 3-wood.
“A lot of times on a course like this you say, `I’m not going to play a Mickey Mouse game,’” Forsman said. “It may be futile, who knows? It worked in this case. That kind of set the tone that I was going to be aggressive on the course today.”
His run of birdies came after a marshal found the glove he had lost on the 10th hole.
“The marshal came up to me and said, `Did you lose a glove on the fairway back there?’” said Forsman. “I said, `Oh gosh.’ So I put it back on and went out and birdied the next four holes. So I guess the glove I received from my walking scorer on the 11th tee is the reason I had those four birdies, so I have to lift my cap and say thank you to him.”
Glasson closed his bogey-free round with a pair of birdies in a strong rebound from a 75th-place finish last week in Iowa in the Principal Charity Classic.
“That was a miserable experience,” said Glasson, who tied for 58th last year at Shoal Creek. He knocked 11 strokes off that opening-round performance.
The 20-foot birdie putt from the right side on the par-4 12th hole was especially cathartic. “I don’t think I’ve ever parred it, let alone made a birdie,” Glasson said.
He and Allem even beat most of the fans out there, finishing the round with about 20 people in the gallery, including a few wearing volunteers’ polo shirts.
Defending champion Tom Lehman had an up-and-down 69. He had seven birdies but hit into the water on No. 9 for double bogey and had two bogeys.
There is a three-way tie for first place heading into the second round of the Wegman’s LPGA Championship at Locust Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
Beatriz Recari, Ryann O’Toole and Giulia Sergas all shot 3-under 69 in the first round of the four-round event, the second major of the season for the LPGA.
Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Se Ri Pak and Jeong Jang were right behind, one shot arrears of the leaders.
But the big buzz of the day was the play of Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods.
Woods got off to a decent start in her first event since turning professional. She was tied for 65th after shooting a 3-over 75.
“It was really exciting going into this day,” Cheyenne said. “I’ve been waiting and waiting for this moment. I couldn’t wait to get out here. I was a little nervous starting off but it felt great to be out there.”
So is there anything specific that she’s hoping to accomplish this week in what will be the first of two majors on her schedule this summer?
“Just boost my confidence,” Cheyenne said. “It’s a little intimidating being out here with the Yani Tsengs and Paula Creamers for the very first time, but I’m just excited and taking everything in and using it as experience for my future career.”
Woods said she received a text from her famous uncle.
“Just trust my abilities, have fun and be patient,” Cheyenne said of the text.
Both Recari and O’Toole had four birdies and one bogey en route to taking a share of the first-round lead while Sergas had six birdies and three bogeys in her round.
Tseng, the defending champion, didn’t get off to the start that she hoped to get. Tseng matched her worst round of the season with a 76, although her previous score of 76 came on the par-73 Royal Melbourne Composite course. Following her less-than-stellar opening round, Tseng is seven shots back entering Friday.
“I hit the ball right and left and I don’t hit it on the fairway,” Tseng said. “If you can’t hit it in the fairway on this course, it’s kind of tough to hit a low score. But I was very surprised that scores didn’t go very low today. So obviously I have a little chance to get it back tomorrow. Hopefully to make some birdies.”