Nick Watney came roaring out of the gate at the Barracuda Championship with a bogey-free, 9-under-par 32-31=63 worth 18 points.
He played like the odds-on favorite that he is today. Watney hit 14 greens and converted nine birdies, including on each of the four par 5s. His one-round total matches Jonathan Byrd's tournament record. En route to a T2 last year, Byrd spun an 8-under 64 that featured an eagle and seven birdies against one bogey. Unlike most on site at Montrêux, Watney is already exempt into next week's PGA Championship and his status on the PGA TOUR is locked up for the next two seasons, so he's playing for a spot in the FedExCup Playoffs. He started the week just 124th in points.
Rod Pampling picked off 11 points in his opening round of the Barracuda Championship and sits five points adrift of the clubhouse co-leaders.
Pampling crashed this field on merit, which isn't saying much since he's 3-for-6 on the season and hasn't finished inside a top 60 since last year's stop in Reno (T26). He hit 14 greens in regulation today and buried six birdies against one bogey. Despite a forgettable season, he started the week slotted 194th in FedExCup points. So, the next time you want to complain when a guy doesn't qualify for the Web.com Tour Finals, remember these stats.
Nathan Green opened the Barracuda Championship with a 5-under-par 35-32=67 worth 11 points.
Like many before him, the Aussie drilled home six birdies to escape one bogey. He penciled in his square at the par-4 first hole where he began the round. Overall, he split 12 (of 14) fairways, hit 12 greens in regulation and owned a strokes gained-putting split that read 3.324 at last check. Official ShotLink data has not been maintained in the past for the opposite events, so perhaps the Barracuda is the first. Green sits five points adrift of the clubhouse co-leaders.
Doug LaBelle II carded a 4-under-par 34-34=68 worth 11 points in his opening round of the Barracuda Championship, finishing five points back of the clubhouse co-leaders.
Only avid gamers are even aware that DL2 has conditional status this season. He's just 3-for-10 with no top 50s and sits 225th in the FedExCup standings. At Montrêux Golf and Country Club today, he hit only 11 greens in regulation, but converted seven birdies to offset three bogeys.
Jason Dufner posted an even-par 35-35=70 in his opening round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
When he revealed this week that he was living with and playing through two bulging discs in his neck, it didn't warrant the kind of panic that Tiger Woods summoned a few months ago. Then again, nothing Dufner does elicits alarm. To that end, he split seven (of 14) fairways and hit 15 greens in regulation at Firestone today. He buried four birdies, including a pair from outside 10 feet, but squared two bogeys and a double. His longest conversion dropped in for par from 15'4" at the par-4 first. Dufner went on to sign his card sitting six strokes behind overnight leader Marc Leishman.
Patrick Rodgers is in the books for 11 points in his opening round of the Barracuda Championship.
The budding professional turned in a 5-under-par 34-33=67 that included six birdies against one bogey. He's five points off the pace of the clubhouse co-leaders. This is his sixth start on the PGA TOUR since turning pro for the Travelers Championship. With four paydays, he's collected 67 non-member FedExCup points. That would place him just outside the top 200 among members, so he needed one decent result to climb inside the bubble and qualify for the Web.com Tour Finals.
Jason Day signed for a 4-over-par 38-34=74 following his opening round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
This was to be expected when he admitted that the pain in his left thumb forced a change in his grip. As a result, Day split six (of 14) fairways and hit only six greens in regulation. A walk-off birdie from 13'9" at the par-4 18th hole did little to ease the sting of a terrible round, but he's guaranteed FedExCup points and earnings at the conclusion of 72 holes. However, a fair question is if he'll be physically healthy enough to finish the tournament.
Eric Axley opened the Barracuda Championship with a 5-under-par 33-34=67 worth 11 points.
The lefty hit 15 greens in regulation and sunk six birdies, including on each of the four par 5s at Montrêux Golf and Country Club today. His only hiccup occurred at the par-4 17th, which he bogeyed. While 187th in the FedExCup standings, Axley has reminded us all year that he's working his way back into form. He's 6-for-8 with one top 25. Short of a win in Reno, he may make for a nice sleeper in full-season format if he survives the Web.com Tour Finals.