The primary golf spherical of in 2021 on the Match of Champions is within the books, and up to now the panorama appears so much like final 12 months with Justin Thomas thriving, Bryson DeChambeau saying insane issues and Harris English enjoying among the most correct golf on this planet.
English co-leads at Eight below with Thomas forward of a cohort of different large names behind them. The climate on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, which might oftentimes be nasty, supplied tons of scoring circumstances on Thursday, and a lot of the area took benefit with solely Tony Finau (+1) and Sebastian Munoz (+2) enjoying the spherical over par.
Let’s take a fast dive into the leaderboard to see the way it all performed out in Spherical 1 at Kapalua.
T1. Harris English (-Eight): English continued his great play from 2020 and carried it into a brand new 12 months with an Eight-under 65 on Thursday during which he completed within the high 10 in each strokes gained tee to inexperienced and strokes gained placing. This should not be a large shock for a few causes. First, English was one of many 10 finest gamers on this planet final 12 months and second, he is superior in first rounds. Subsequent step for him can be closing out his first victory since 2013.
T1. Justin Thomas (-Eight): Extra of the identical from the defending champ as he put collectively an ideal card regardless of not driving the ball notably nicely. He confirmed on Thursday why he is such a troublesome out as a result of what he lacked from tee to inexperienced, he made up for elsewhere. He was great (as he nearly at all times is) across the greens and hit big-time putts to maintain his 65 collectively. One instance was the 37-footer for par he hit on No. 13 after a horrible drive. J.T. might be not the perfect on this planet at something, however he is actually, actually good at every little thing.
T3. Patrick Reed, Sungjae Im, Sergio Garcia, Robert Streb, Nick Taylor, Ryan Palmer (-6): Reed hit a shocking shot into the ultimate gap and made a brief putt for eagle. The excellent news for him is that he is putting the ball higher than he did final 12 months when he misplaced in a playoff. His all-around recreation was terrific on Thursday, and if he continues to be this good off the tee, he’ll vie for his second title right here on Sunday.
T9. Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendon Todd (-5): There’s just one factor to say about this trio.
T12. Bryson DeChambeau (-Four): The Large Boy was — unsurprisingly — No. 2 within the area in strokes gained off the tee. He was additionally — unsurprisingly — No. 1 within the area in quotations after this spherical, giving this “wait, what?!” reply about his interplay with world lengthy drive champ Kyle Berkshire, who he is been working with over the past month or so.
Q. What was the perfect query you requested him, in your opinion?
DeChambeau: “How arduous did you push it? And he stated, ‘Till I blackout.'”
Q. So did you get there?
DeChambeau: “Sure. Quite a few instances. There was instances the place I used to be seeing a tunnel and I needed to cease. I imply, you simply must cease. That is about whenever you cease. There’s so much to it.”
Q. You did not really blackout?
DeChambeau: “No, no, no. I didn’t blackout, however I got here very shut, identical to he did. He did the identical.”
Simply how Sam Snead ready for each new season as nicely.
T29. Dustin Johnson (-2): Not an awesome outing for the perfect participant on this planet on the finish of the autumn. It might have been worse, although, as most of his points got here on the greens the place he misplaced strokes, and he is solely six again of the lead after Spherical 1. D.J. did say earlier within the week that he feels somewhat rusty so perhaps we must always have seen this coming. Regardless, he will get many months’ of free passes after the present he placed on at Augusta Nationwide in November.
Greatest wager to win after Spherical 1: Jon Rahm (18-1). He is solely 5 again, and that is an awesome quantity.
Worst statistical day: Hideki Matsuyama misplaced practically 5 (!!) strokes on Thursday together with his putter. Nearly inconceivable to do!
Most disappointing: I used to be really extra disenchanted by Finau’s 74 than D.J.’s 71. This course has Finau written throughout it, and he was awful on Thursday.
Wager I am nervous about: Joaquin Niemann over Daniel Berger. Each shot 69 on Thursday. Hoped Niemann would have a pair pictures on him going into Friday.
Most spectacular spherical: Webb Simpson flew over on Wednesday after testing optimistic for COVID-19 in December, performed one in all his first rounds in weeks and shot three below.