Reed, Cantlay both fire 7-under 65, share early Hero lead
A star-studded field has gathered this week in the Bahamas, and they’re all chasing a pair of Patricks. Here’s how things look after the opening round of the Hero World Challenge, where Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay share the top spot:
Leaderboard: Patrick Reed (-7), Patrick Cantlay (-7), Henrik Stenson (-4), Dustin Johnson (-4), Bubba Watson (-3)
What it means: Cantlay was a late add to the event in the Bahamas, replacing Webb Simpson, who withdrew because of injury. But he made the most of his start during the opening round in the Bahamas, where a 65 gave him an early lead before Reed joined him by rolling in a birdie putt on the 18th green to card a matching 65.
Round of the day: Reed tied for second a couple weeks ago in Dubai, and he hasn’t lost any of that form upon arriving at Albany. The Masters champ birdied each of his first two holes to start strong, dropped only one shot along the way and closed with three birdies over his final five holes to put himself in position to contend for his first win since slipping into the green jacket.
Full-field scores from the Hero World Challenge
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Best of the rest: Cantlay made the most of the opportunity, with birdies on five of his final six holes to break away from an early pack of leaders. He is looking for the second win of his pro career [though this is unofficial] and first since last November.
Biggest disappointment: The tournament host has some catching up to do. Tiger Woods couldn’t get it going on the greens in his opening round, and a sloppy triple bogey on the par-3 12th sent him plummeting, temporarily, into last place. While he made a few birdies coming home to salvage a 1-over 73, he’s still eight shots off the lead and ahead of only Hideki Matsuyama among the 18-man field.
Main storyline heading into Friday: With a small number of participants, it’ll be interesting to see if Reed or Cantlay (or both) are able to break away further from the chase pack. There’s currently a three-shot buffer between the co-leaders and their nearest pursuers, but that gap could widen if either player rolls in putts as effectively and efficiently as they did toward the end of the opening round.
Quote of the day: “I just didn’t quite feel comfortable with my game, and it reflected in my scoring.” – Woods
Shot of the day: Justin Rose nearly made an albatross on the par-5 11th, hitting his lengthy approach to within 3 feet. The subsequent eagle was the highlight of a 2-under 70 as Rose looks to overtake Brooks Koepka as the new world No. 1 next week.