By Andrew Both
GREENSBORO, North Carolina (Reuters) – Brandt Snedeker shot 11-under-par 59 in the first round at the Wyndham Championship on Thursday, before vowing to keep attacking at an event with a recent history of very low winning scores.
His course record earned a four-stroke lead over fellow Americans Ryan Moore and John Oda at Sedgefield Country Club, which is at the mercy of the field after a wet summer left it soft and defenceless.
Snedeker (2007) and Moore (2009) both claimed their first PGA Tour victory at the Wyndham.
“I’m very aware that there’s a lot of golf left,” Snedeker said after shooting the 10th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history.
“This means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of this tournament.
“Eighteen-to-24 under par seems to win here every year, so I’m going to have to make a lot more birdies if I’m going to be around on Sunday.
“That said, I’ve got a great lead right now.”
Swede Henrik Stenson set a tournament record low score of 22-under in winning last year, a year after South Korean Kim Si-woo shot 21-under.
Snedeker recorded his score despite bogeying his first hole. The eagle and 10 birdies that followed more than made amends for his slow start.
Nobody looked remotely close to challenging Snedeker, though the afternoon 63s by Moore and Oda were both bogey-free.
Jim Furyk, captain of the American team for next month’s Ryder Cup, was among a group on 65.
Furyk holds the PGA Tour record low score of 58, and also has a 59 on his resume.
He was delighted to welcome Snedeker to the sub-60 club with a performance that was a reminder of the depth of talent he has at his disposal when the Americans attempt to defend the Cup against Europe in Paris next month.
Furyk is assessing form of players before making four captain’s picks early next month to complete the team. Eight players have already qualified automatically.
He has made no secret that he has an eye on current form.
Snedeker, who has had a quiet year, has not been on anyone’s Ryder Cup radar. He finished 37th in the standings, but a couple of hot weeks could put him in contention.
“It certainly doesn’t hurt (to shoot 59),” Furyk said when asked if Snedeker’s round was significant for Ryder Cup selection.
“We’re looking for guys who are playing well. The trick for
him is he’s playing great, now he’s just got to rest, relax and start over tomorrow from scratch and go play three more good rounds.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both, editing by Pritha Sarkar)