Monday 21 January 2019

Snedeker scorches to a 59 as Irish toil in Greensboro

Shane Lowry plays his shot from the third tee during the first round of the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina. Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Shane Lowry plays his shot from the third tee during the first round of the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina. Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Seamus Power gave himself a FedEx Cup headache as Brandt Snedeker made history in the Wyndham Championship by becoming the ninth player to shoot 59 on the PGA Tour.

The West Waterford man (31) is 123rd in the FedEx Cup race with only the top 125 on Sunday night keeping their full PGA Tour cards.

But after an early double-bogey at the fourth put him under pressure, he bogeyed the 18th for a four-over-par 74 that left him five shots outside the cut mark and projected to fall to 125th in the FedEx race, leaving him vulnerable to the chasing pack if he fails to make the weekend.

It was also a slow day for 139th-ranked Shane Lowry, whose late bogey at the 17th saw him post a one-under 69 as he seeks the solo eighth-placed finish he needs to keep his full US card next year. "I was very tired out there," said Lowry. "It's my fifth week in a row so I might need to rest up now for the next 24 hours and see what I can do."

Graeme McDowell must finish solo fifth to keep his full playing rights but a level par 70 leaves him six shots short of where he needs to be at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro.

As for Pádraig Harrington (46), who needs to win to be fully exempt in the US next year, he was tied for 73rd with Lowry after a 69 and ten strokes off the lead.

Snedeker (37) became the ninth player to shoot 59 or lower on the PGA Tour when he rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe at the ninth.

He began his round with a bogey at the 10th but turned in three-under before scorching home in 27 shots, rattling in an eagle and six birdies.

He didn't even see his slam-dunk eagle two at the sixth where officials were forced to cut a new hole after his 176-yard approach to the elevated green came in like a meteor and damaged the edge of the hole.

After missing a slick six-footer at his 17th to get to 11-under, he rammed home a 20 footer from the fringe at the ninth to become the ninth player to break 60 on the US circuit.

"To step up there and have a 20-footer and know what it means; I'm very aware of what was going on," Snedeker said of his final putt.

"I knocked that putt in. It was really special to know I'm part of a small club on tour. Not many people have done this. It's a really cool feeling right now."

Snedeker's 59 gave him a four-shot early lead over Ryan Moore (63) with Martin Flores, DA Points, Brett Stegmaier, David Hearn, Abraham Ancer and Ollie Schniederjans firing 64s to share third.

There was also hot scoring at the European Tour's Nordea Masters in Sweden where Frenchman Clement Sordet fired an eight-under 62 to lead by two strokes from Scotland's Scott Jamieson and Englishman Lee Slattery.

At the Challenge Tour's Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open, South Korea's Minkyu Kim and Wales' Stuart Manley shot seven-under 64s to lead by one stroke from Richard Finch, Marcus Armitage and Denmark's Victor Gebhard Osterby.

Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin (67) was the best of the 23-strong home challenge in joint ninth with Jonny Caldwell, and Ruaidhri McGee tied 16th after 68s.

Tullamore's Stuart Grehan (69) and tournament ambassador Michael Hoey (70) were the only other Irish players under par.

  • Nordea Masters, Live, Sky Sports, 10.0am
  • Wyndham Championship, Live, Sky Sports Golf, 8.0pm

Irish Independent

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