Collin Morikawa has catapulted himself into rivalry on the 2023 Gamers Championship with an opening-round 65 as play was suspended on Thursday resulting from darkness. Only one stroke off the tempo of Chad Ramey (-8), Morikawa rode a scorching efficiency from tee to inexperienced for his greatest opening spherical because the Event of Champions.
Morikawa’s day started in a comparatively easy vogue with two birdies on his opening half. Making the flip to his again 9 (the entrance 9 at TPC Sawgrass), the two-time main champion caught lightning in a bottle when he performed his subsequent six holes in 5 beneath.
On the lookout for his first worldwide win in over a yr, Morikawa will purpose to maintain issues tight over the subsequent three days. Whereas the likes of Ramey and different relative unknowns are more likely to fade because the week progresses, a participant who is bound to be there come the again 9 on Sunday is world No. 2 Scottie Scheffler.
Signing for a 4-under 68, the Texan as soon as once more finds his identify on the primary web page of a leaderboard at a big-time occasion. He sits one stroke away from his fellow statesman, Jordan Spieth, in addition to Norwegian Viktor Hovland heading into Friday’s second spherical.
Let’s wrap up what went down all through the primary day of motion at TPC Sawgrass.
1. Chad Ramey (-8): To say this efficiency got here out of nowhere could be an understatement. Whereas Ramey received on the PGA Tour final season, this yr has been a totally completely different beast for the 30-year-old. It will make for an amazing story, however it’s troublesome to ascertain Ramey staying round for much longer given how lights out he was on the greens. Ramey gained almost six strokes with the putter on Thursday (two strokes higher than his earlier profession excessive) and is unlikely to copy this over the subsequent 54 holes.
2. Collin Morikawa (-7)
T3. Taylor Pendrith, Ben Griffin, Justin Suh (-6)
T6. Min Woo Lee, Scottie Scheffler, Denny McCarthy, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Adam Svensson, Sam Burns (-4)
T12. Si Woo Kim, Viktor Hovland, Jordan Spieth, Cam Davis, Justin Rose, Nate Lashley, Lucas Glover (-3)
Buckle up. Spieth’s subsequent 54 holes are sure to be a rollercoaster given a few of his ball-striking metrics and his historical past at TPC Sawgrass. Coming into this week, Spieth had did not register a top-40 end in his final eight outings right here and missed the lower in 5 of these cases. His capability to maintain the ball within the brief grass off the tee will likely be key transferring ahead as his brief recreation saved him a variety of occasions when he was out of place.
“I imply, it is simply a type of locations the place I felt like the best way I performed was actually good a variety of occasions, after which I take a look at the board right here, and I am like, ‘Huh, I am not even within the high 10,’” stated Spieth. “That is simply the best way this match has been for me. I am not going to attempt to do something in a different way, attempt to pressure something extra. It is simply I felt like I performed what would have been at the least that final week, and for some purpose, it does not yield a decrease rating out right here. If I can restrict errors — I performed good after I was out of place as we speak and restricted errors — the remainder of my recreation feels actually stable and will be capable to make sufficient birdies to work my manner into rivalry.”
The island inexperienced giveth (and taketh away)
We noticed all the pieces from an ace to a seven on the par-3 seventeenth in Spherical 1. Hayden Buckley obtained the occasion began with an ace within the early goings, whereas Nick Watney introduced the vibes down with a four-putt quadruple bogey late within the day. It measured solely 125 yards on Thursday, however the seventeenth was nonetheless in a position to strike concern (and pleasure) into gamers.
“I had just a little feeling one thing like which may occur this week,” Buckley stated of his hole-in-one. “I do not know, I have been hitting it effectively, however it’s all the time good to see it occur on that gap, too.”
2023 Gamers Championship up to date odds, picks
Odds by way of Caesars Sportsbook
- Collin Morikawa: 33/10
- Scottie Scheffler: 9/2
- Viktor Hovland: 7-1
- Jordan Spieth: 11-1
- Jon Rahm: 16-1
- Jason Day: 22-1
- Justin Suh: 22-1
- Sam Burns: 25-1
- Max Homa: 27-1
- Si Woo Kim: 28-1
Scheffler must be the play. He entered the week round 10-1 and he did nothing on Thursday to recommend he is not going to be an element on this championship late on Sunday. The world No. 2 ranked fourth in strokes gained tee to inexperienced and fourth in strokes gained method whereas ending exterior the highest half of the sphere in placing. If he finds a semblance of kind on the greens, he ought to overtake Morikawa with ease over the subsequent few days.