- Rory Sabbatini shot a seven-under 64 to take a two shot lead after the first round at the RBC Heritage.
In the first tournament following Patrick Reed's thrilling victory at the Masters, Rory Sabbatini shot a seven-under 64 to seize a two-shot lead at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town on Thursday. Sabbatini, 42, has six PGA Tour wins but hasn't visited the winner's circle since the 2011 Honda Classic.
For a full leaderboard, click here. Below you'll find how some notable players fared in the first round:
Matt Kuchar -5
Billy Horschel -5
Patrick Cantlay -4
Bryson DeChambeau -3
Xander Schauffele -3
Kevin Kisner -2
Dustin Johnson -2
Matthew Fitzpatrick -2
Zach Johnson -1
Jason Dufner E
Marc Leishman +1
Paul Casey +4
Tyrell Hatton +4
Here are three quick takeaways from the action at the beautiful Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Beware of the wounded golfer
Sabbatini hasn't won on Tour in more than seven years, but he did come into this event on a string of nine consecutively made cuts. Now, he only finished in the top-15 in one of those tournaments (a t-5 at the Valspar), but making that many weekends in a row means you're doing something right.
Sabbatini's lead is even more unlikely when you consider that he didn't even know if he'd be able to tee it up this week. Sabbatini told Golf Channel that he tweaked his back "doing something stupid" in his golf swing and was just thankful to be able to tee it up this week. As Tony Finau proved last week, when he finished in the top 10 at the Masters despite an ankle the size of a tree trunk, you can never count out the wounded golfer—sometimes the injury takes all the pressure off and forces you to swing easy. That ain't a bad thing.
The course played much tougher in the afternoon
A number of players got off to hot starts early this morning, and the vast majority of guys near the top of the leaderboard were part of Thursday's morning wave. The wind kicked up a bit as the afternoon wore on, and the greens got a little bumpier, leading to an afternoon scoring average that was almost a full shot higher than the morning. Those players who were able to post a good score in the afternoon will feel particularly good about their start, as they're likely to get the good end of the weather bargain on Friday. Two good young players posted three-under 68s in the afternoon wave: Xander Schauffele and Cameron Smith. Look for those guys to take it low tomorrow morning and set themselves up for the weekend.
Dustin Johnson debuted a new putter
DJ is the only top-10 player in the field this week, and his presence is due in no small part to the fact that the title sponsor this week, RBC, is one of his main sponsors. Johnson shot a two-under 69, a fine start, but a bit disappointing because he was four-under through 13. He's debuting a "new" putter this week—it's the same Spider Tour Platinum that he's been using, but it's got a new bright-white paint job. He still needed 28 putts to get around Harbour Town on Thursday and ranked 91st in the field in strokes gained: putting.