The first round for AT&T Byron Nelson lived up to expectations on Thursday as a course (and PGA Tour) scoring record was set and a handful of the field’s top players challenged for the lead. after 18 holes. Sebastian Munoz set TPC Craig Ranch on fire early with a 60 (including a bogey!) while Masters champions Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffler both made runs at the top of the board later in the day when conditions got a lot windier.
While the top of the board isn’t sexy (except for one guy we’ll get to shortly), the entire tournament is looking great over the next three days with someone running away to the summit with several great chasing champions.
This tournament has always been low-scoring regardless of where it takes place – from TPC Four Seasons to Trinity Forest and now TPC Craig Ranch – and the only thing that can change is a strong wind over the next few days. Otherwise, the 59 is definitely in play, and with the quality of golfers in this area and a little lower on this board, it’s a very real possibility.
Let’s take a look at Munoz’s round and the rest of round 1 on Thursday and what lies ahead in round 2.
Sebastien Munoz (-12): Some people like 59s, but I prefer 60s with a bogey like Munoz shot Thursday. It’s the hipster’s 59. More importantly, he set the course record, equaled the tournament record, and gave him a four-stroke advantage going into Round 2. It was also the second 60 or better he had this season with the another coming in round 1 of the RSM Classic where he finished third. Incredibly on Thursday, Munoz was just 2 under on the first eight holes before finishing 10 under on his last 10. Here’s what the map looked like after that:
- #9: Eagle
- #ten: Birds
- #11: Birds
- #12: Eagle
- #13: Pair
- #14: Birds
- #15: Pair
- #16: Birds
- #17: Birds
- #18: Birds
“It’s a great feeling every time everything clicks, hits the tee shots, the ball goes out the window you imagined,” Munoz said. “…When everything is going, just stay away and let it be. So that’s what I did. »
Golf… it’s simple. Oh, and Munoz accomplished something on Thursday that has never been done before in PGA Tour history. Combined with his 60 at RSM, he became the first player in PGA Tour history to shoot 60 or better twice in the same season.
T2. Mito Pereira, Peter Malnati, KH Lee, Justin Lower (-8)
6. Kyle Wilshire (-7)
Lee is one of the best characters on the PGA Tour and the player I was referring to when talking about ranking hotness. Here’s the quote Lee, who won this tournament last year the week before the PGA Championship, is best known for (and with good reason).
” The first one [goal] is to become the No. 1 golfer in the world,” Lee said. And the second is to become the No. 1 sexiest golfer in the world. ”
He shot 64 while playing with Scheffler and Spieth, which is as sexy as it gets and has a chance to come back back to back despite just one top 10 in 26 starts since that win at TPC Craig Ranch. In five laps on this course, he is now 33 (!!) under par.
Master champions thrive
Speaking of Scheffler and Spieth, they pulled a combined 10 under alongside Lee, which means this group had 18 under that day. Scheffler was his usual elite self (his 3.21 shots gained were actually barely above his average for the year so far), but Spieth is a much more curious case. He chases the hell off the ball – statistically as well as he’s kicked it off the tee in years – but every other part of his game is pretty average (especially for him). It’s hard to know what to make of this, but it’s become clear that if he can clean up his game from fairway to holeshot, he’s going to have a monstrous summer. With three major championships on deck, that could mean an already elite resume gets even longer.
Another player whose finishing impressed me was Justin Thomas. He was 2 on his first even holes on a day when everything in the 70s was pretty poor scoring, but he snatched four birdies and an eagle on his last 11 holes to work his way into the top 25 after day one and stay in the hunt. There’s no better show in golf than when JT switches gears with his irons and hits six of his last 11 approach shots from 12 feet or less.
Rick Gehman and Kyle Porter recap Thursday’s action at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Follow and listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Statistics of the day
At the end of a season, the collection of tricks in which a player wins at least 10 strokes on the court can normally be counted as one hand. Munoz accomplished that on Thursday by finishing 10.21 better than the court average, and according to Justin Ray, it’s the first time this season that someone has been 10 better than the field. It’s an unreal number that’s both rare on the PGA Tour and probably doesn’t get the credit it should. The 60 may be mocked because it’s an easy golf course – which it is – but you have to respect when someone is 10 or more better than all the other best players in the world.
Updated odds and picks
Here’s a look at the new odds after 18 holes, courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
- Sebastien Munoz: 3-1
- Scottie Scheffler: 8-1
- Myth Pereira: 12-1
- KH Lee: 14-1
- Justin Thomas: 14-1
- Dustin Johnson: 14-1
- Jordan Spieth: 16-1
- Hideki Matsuyama: 20-1
- Joachim Niemann: 22-1
- Seamus Power: 22-1
Scheffler gets all sorts of respect considering he and Spieth are both seven-pointers, and his chances are half of Spieth’s. It is deserved, but this number is far too short. If you look at durability alone, I don’t think Munoz is too bad at 3-1, but it’s Lee I like at 14-1. He was second to Munoz in shots won from tee to green on Thursday and obviously loves this golf course. I can easily see him succeeding this week even without a ton of momentum. Plus, Spieth at 16-1 is intriguing. If the putter gets hot, prepare the curtains.