Nine-birdie O’Hern in front
A back nine birdie fest and an opening-round 63 have swept Nick O’Hern into the lead at the Frys.com Open.
Nick O’Hern fired eight blistering birdies on his back nine to post a opening-round 63 and take the lead in the Frys.com Open at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The Austreralian’s nine-birdie, two-bogey round, however, did not put him as far out in front as might have been expected.
At seven under par he is only one stroke clear of Americans Heath Slocum, The Barclays champion seven weeks ago, and Bob Heintz who each shot 64s on a Grayhawk’s par-70 Raptor Course that gave away a lot of birdies.
Early leader D.A. Points is a further shot back on 65 in a four-way tie with fellow American Rickie Fowler, England’s Greg Owen and South African Rory Sabbatini.
“It was strange, but nothing was really happening on the front nine,” O’Hern said. “I was hitting the ball pretty good, but just not making anything.
“I think I just got on a roll. I birdied 10 and 11 with short birdie putts and holed about a 60-, 70-footer on 12 and things just kind of went from there.
“Six birdies in a row and I thought, ‘Oh, here we go. Let’s see if we can do nine in a row’.
“Then I knocked it in the water on 16… the one hole I didn’t birdie. Sort of pegged me back on that.
“But I finished well with a couple more birdies.”
Points made the early running with a six-birdie, one-bogey 65 to lead after the morning wave of starters in the desert but eventually found himself tied with Fowler, Sabbatini and Owen, who went bogey-free and was 100% in reaching greens in regulation.
A large group of players were breathing down the leaders’ necks on four under, including former Masters champion Mike Weir, while Scotland’s Martin Laird, having won his maiden PGA Tour event in Las Vegas last week, carded a 67 to move into a tie for 23rd with, amongst others, Germany’s Alex Cejka.
Englishman Brian Davis also shot a level-par 70 as did defending champion Cameron Beckman of the United States.
ALL THE FIRST ROUND SCORES
(USA unless stated, par 70):
63 Nick O’Hern (Aus)
64 Bob Heintz, Heath Slocum
65 D.A. Points, Rory Sabbatini (Rsa), Rickie Fowler, Greg Owen (Eng)
66 Brad Adamonis, Spencer Levin, Pat Perez, Bill Lunde, Billy Mayfair, Jeff Klauk, Ricky Barnes, Ben Crane, Justin Leonard, Paul Goydos, Mike Weir (Can), Tim Petrovic, Nicholas Thompson, Ryan Moore, Stephen Ames (Can)
67 Charley Hoffman, Scott McCarron, Chris Stroud, Steve Lowery, Tom Pernice Jnr., Matthew Jones (Aus), Alex Cejka (Ger), Fred Couples, Michael Allen, Bo Van Pelt, Martin Laird (Sco), Marc Turnesa, Bryce Molder, Rocco Mediate
68 Harrison Frazar, Webb Simpson, Chad Campbell, Brett Quigley, David Mathis, Peter Tomasulo, Arron Oberholser, Tim Herron, Chris DiMarco, Tom Lehman, Steve Elkington (Aus), Mark Wilson, Richard S Johnson (Swe), Brian Vranesh, Mathew Goggin (Aus), Andres Romero (Arg), Tim Clark (Rsa), Johnson Wagner
69 Vaughn Taylor, Steve Flesch, Darron Stiles, Matt Bettencourt, Jamie Lovemark, Peter Lonard (Aus), Charlie Wi (Kor), Brad Faxon, J J Henry, Nathan Green (Aus), George McNeill, Ryan Palmer, Briny Baird, D.J. Trahan
70 Michael Bradley, Chris Riley, Kirk Triplett, Aron Price (Aus), Robert Garrigus, David Duval, John Mallinger, Chez Reavie, Will MacKenzie, Dean Wilson, Roland Thatcher, Stuart Appleby (Aus), Jason Gore, Brian Davis (Eng), Eric Axley, Greg Chalmers (Aus), Cliff Kresge, Parker McLachlin, Kevin Streelman, Fredrik Jacobson (Swe), Cameron Beckman, Glen Day, Carl Pettersson (Swe), Jonathan Byrd
71 Michael Letzig, Kent Jones, Eric Meierdierks, Casey Wittenberg, Colt Knost, Kevin Sutherland, Todd Hamilton, Jarrod Lyle (Aus), Mark Calcavecchia, Leif Olson, Jay Williamson, Rich Beem, Ryuji Imada (Jpn)
72 Brendon De Jonge, Jeff Overton, John Merrick, Stan Utley, Jeff Quinney, Joe Ogilvie, Ted Purdy, Brady Schnell, James Nitties (Aus), Brian Bateman, Daniel Chopra (Swe), Derek Fathauer, Jake Younan-wise (Aus), Troy Matteson
73 John Rollins, Kris Blanks, Brendon Todd
74 Aaron Watkins, Ken Duke, Bubba Watson, Tommy Armour III
75 Aaron Baddeley (Aus), Dean Vomacka, Jimmy Walker
76 Jeff Maggert, Matt Weibring
78 Patrick Moore
Steve Stricker has no worries over Brooks Koepka ahead of the Ryder Cup
In an interview last week the four-time major champion said he finds the biennial event “tough, hectic and a bit odd”.
Shane Lowry keen for battle since watching Padraig Harrington at 2006 Ryder Cup
Fifteen years on he will be part of the European team attempting to retain the trophy at Whistling Straits.
Matt Fitzpatrick relishing hostile atmosphere awaiting Team Europe at Ryder Cup
The Sheffield-born player was just 22 during the last away contest at Hazeltine in 2016.
Vice-captain Graeme McDowell still has hopes of playing in another Ryder Cup
The Northern Irishman will be part of Europe’s bid to retain the trophy at Whistling Straits later this month.
Fleetwood ready to become villain of the piece as Europe bid to retain Ryder Cup
With coronavirus travel restrictions preventing large numbers of fans travelling, Padraig Harrington’s side are braced for a one-sided atmosphere.
Kristoffer Broberg ends ‘six years of hell’ with battling victory at Dutch Open
The Swede claimed his second European Tour title after finishing with a 72.
Ian Poulter: America’s rookies are in for nerve wracking Ryder Cup experience
Half of captain Steve Stricker’s side have never played in the biennial contest before.
McGinley wants Europe’s Ryder Cup players to forget about Koepka/DeChambeau feud
Former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley believes attempting to make capital from the spat could backfire.
Kristoffer Broberg eight shots clear at Dutch Open
The 35-year-old secured the course record at Bernardus Golf.