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Tom Hoge
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The Roundup

Easy as ABC for Hoge at Jackson

by Dave Tindall
Updated On: September 19, 2019, 7:31 pm ET

Recap of the day

Early wave: Let the birdie-fest begin! With an average winning score of 20-under the last three years, going low is the name of the game this week and Tom Hoge did it better than anyone on the opening morning thanks to an 8-under 64. That was a shot better than fellow American Robert Streb, Aussie Cameron Percy and Ireland's Seamus Power. They were two clear of a bunch which included double major winner Zach Johnson.

Late wave: Due to inclement weather in the area, R1 was suspended at 2:46 p.m. CT and a window never presented itself for play to resume. They will pick things back up at 7:00 a.m. local time on Friday morning. 

Leaderboard: -8 Tom Hoge, -7 Robert Streb, Cameron Percy, Seamus Power, -5 Zac Blair, Emiliano Grillo, Zach Johnson, Mark Anderson, Byeong Hun An (thru 11), J.T. Poston (thru 8)

Notables: -4 Joaquin Niemann, -3 Brandt Snedeker, Si Woo Kim, -1 Brian Harman, Evs Kevin Streelman.

 

Revised outright betting: 

9/1 Byeong Hun An; 12/1 Sungjae Im; 14/1 J.T. Poston, Tom Hoge; 20/1 Emiliano Grillo, Joaquin Niemann

 

Friday weather forecast

Temperatures in the high 80s but, once more, the forecast suggests that t-storms could be in the area. Winds could pick up a little too.

 

Leaders after at 18 holes

Tom Hoge (64) – Fresh from a career-best second place at the Greenbrier last week (68-65-67-65), Hoge rode the wave with eight birdies in a bogey-free morning lap. Only hit half the 14 fairways but found 14 GIR and the putter was hot. Nailed a 40-footer for a walk-off birdie.

Robert Streb (65) – A popular pick last week (was previously a two-time runner-up at Greenbrier) when only T66 so, of course, he decides to come good a week on! Connected four straight birdies from 13-16 and missed just two greens in the right number, saving par both times.

Cameron Percy (65) – Just $6,700 on DraftKings but has cashed here on his last three visits and came up with his best round at Jackson today. Aussie veteran set the tone with three birdies, hitting 14 greens.

Seamus Power (65) – Was 6-under thru six (10-15) after four birdies and an eagle before dropping shots at 16 and 18. Pushed on again with three more circles coming home. Hit just five fairways but made seven conversions from outside ten feet. Matches his opener here from 2016 when T29 and made the top 20 in both 2017 and 2018 so definitely a fan of Jackson.

Fate of the favorites

Joaquin Niemann (68) – Never easy to follow a first win but the Chilean kept his focus well with five birdies and a single bogey on his course debut. Found 15 greens in regulation from just seven fairways hit.

Sungjae Im (4-under thru 9) – The young Korean stayed hot with five birdies on the outward nine to erase a lone blemish. That was when play was called for the day. 

Brandt Snedeker (69) – Outpaced two bogeys with five birdies but somewhat loose in the long game, hitting just five fairways and 12 greens. Putter helped him out. 

Byeong Hun An (5-under thru 11) – Setting up shop in Florida for a while now, perhaps it's not surprising that bermudagrass is where he often excels. That's the case again early in R1 as he's gained 1.1 strokes putting thru 11 holes to reach 5-under before the weather horn sounded. 

 

Quotes

Tom Hoge (64): "I've been driving it good and putting good, which is kind of the key for me. Hopefully keep it going. Just been playing a lot of golf tournaments. Kind of feel like I'm just kind of in that tournament groove right now. The greens are perfect really. If you hit it within 15 feet you have a great chance to make all the putts."

Seamus Power (65): "Just putted well, made some really good putts. The greens are so good if you're putting well you can you really feel you can make almost everything out here. It's a nice start, but you know it's only a start. You're going to have to get to 20-under."

Cameron Percy (65): (When asked how is hand is) "Really sore actually. Yeah, the wrist is quite sore."

Zach Johnson (67): "I just kind of plotted myself around and gave myself good opportunities. I had some I left out there, but certainly capitalized on a few as well. The holes where you kind of got to certainly step up and hit a good shot, for the most part I did that."

Joaquin Niemann (68): "I played good. Hit the ball good. I like it (the course). It's in good shape. It's bermuda. I like bermuda. I live in Florida so I'm used to it. Yeah, greens are really, really quick so you got to be a little careful with some putts."

 

Road to victory at Jackson

2018 Cameron Champ – R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2017 Ryan Armour – R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2016 Cody Gribble – R1: 101st, R2: 8th, R3: 3rd
2015 Peter Malnati – R1: 42nd, R2: 8th, R3: 3rd
2014 Nick Taylor – R1: 2nd, R2: 3rd, R3: 5th

Notes: The last two winners here went wire-to-wire - a contrast to Gribble, who stumbled out of the gate with 73 before launching his title surge with a Friday 63. All five winners were in the top eight at halfway.

 

Fate of the 18-hole leaders at Jackson – where did they finish?

2018 Cameron Champ 1st
2017 Ryan Armour 1st, Wyndham Clark 17th, J.J. Spaun 34th, Andrew Landry 59th, Conrad Shindler 59th
2016 Kevin Streelman 18th
2014 Roberto Castro 4th
2014 Sebastian Cappelen 35th

Notes: An 18-hole leader has won the last two years but plenty have flopped having made bright starts. In fact, five of those nine shot over par in round two.

 

Focus on – Zach Johnson

Johnson always gave the impression he had a game that was fairly immune from a slump. He hits fairways and makes putts. The guy is a two-time major winner. You'd have found him in the top 50 in the world rankings at the end of every season from 2007 to 2017 before a slip to 66th last year. Rather than bounce back, the 2019 campaign witnessed a further slide and he entered this week's event down at 133rd in the OWGR having once been at No. 6. Johnson loves to talk so he gave some interesting and detailed insight on his struggles after shooting 67 today: "I think my practice and the way I was approaching my work was more assessment-based rather than improvement-based. That was frustrating and disappointing." How to get better? "Sticking to and trusting and enjoying the process of what it is. Understanding that, hey, it's a great opportunity. This year is a great opportunity to climb back to where you want to be, where you need to be, where you should be. I think it's coming. I'm confident it's coming. I know what I'm doing, ball striking, short game, and on the putting green. It's going to surface. Just a matter of when, not if."

 

Focus on – Meanwhile in Europe

Over on the other side of the pond in sunny England, round one of the European Tour's prestigious BMW PGA Championship is in the books. It's the start of the points race for the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits and the R1 leaderboard suggests Europe's best players have it in mind.

-7 Matt Wallace
-6 Jon Rahm, Henrik Stenson
-5 Justin Rose

There are also some big-name Americans taking part at Wentworth although none finished round one in the top 25:

-2 Patrick Reed, Tony Finau
-1 Andrew Putnam
Ev Billy Horschel

Oh, Rory McIlroy came home in 42 to shoot 4-over!

Dave Tindall
Dave Tindall is former golf editor at Sky Sports.com in the UK and has been writing betting previews for the European Tour since 1997. He can be reached via e-mail on tindall_david@hotmail.com and on Twitter @davetindallgolf.