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May 2017
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‘PGA’ Articles

Charl Schwartzel leads Memorial first round with 7-under-par 65; Piercy one shot back

DUBLIN, Ohio – Charl Schwartzel is the 18-hole leader at the Memorial Tourmament with his 7 under, 65 round Thursday afternoon leading Scott Piercy by a stroke at Muirfield Village Golf Course. Schwartzel is looking to win his first non-major on the PGA Tour.

Schwartzel is coming off missing the cut last weekend at the Crowne Plaza Invitational.

Schwartzel and Piercy teed off in the morning. By the afternoon, the winds picked up and the course dried out causing higher scores. Bill Haas and Matt Kuchar posted the lowest afternoon rounds at 68, three strokes behind Schwartzel.

“Solid, steady round,” Kuchar said. “I got it going on the back. Birdie on 12 was great. That’s one of the holes you just try to make par and leave. And then bogey is even okay on No. 12. To sneak away with a birdie was great.”

Charl Schwartzel (photo by Pvt. Pauline, eigen werk via wikipedia commons)

Schwartzel was the round one leader despite bogeying No. 13 and doubly bogeying No. 8. Before going into No. 8, he had a four-hole birdie streak going. Schwartzel had 16 of 18 holes in regulation Thursday.  After taking the double bogey on No. 8, he recovered with a birdie on No. 9 to finish his round.

“The birdie on the last definitely will make my evening a lot better,” Schwartzel said. “It’s really when you’ve played that well ad you’re thinking you get those few rounds a year where you really strike it well and you’re making lots of birdies and you walk off with your 8 or 9 under.”

Schwartzel’s threesome could be a preview of possible International squad teammates for the Presidents Cup that Murifield Village is hosting in October. Schwartzel, a South African native, was paired with fellow countryman Ernie Els and Australian Adam Scott. Neither Els nor Scott could capture Schwartzel’s magic as both shot 1 over.

“I felt like I played really well, just kept making sort of ticking the ball over and got it to 8 under (before dropping a stroke),” he said.

While Schwartzel was joined by future International squad competitors in his morning group, Tiger Woods was on an afternoon threesome that bled red, white, and blue. Woods was joined by young up and coming American Keegan Bradley and team captain Fred Couples.

Couples, 53, had the best round of the trio shooting 2 under for the round. Couples has spent most of his playing time of late on the Champions Tour. The Memorial was just his third start since last year’s Memorial on the PGA Tour.

“I sent (Woods) a text and said ‘do you really want me in this group, I’ve played no golf,’” Couples said. “You’re nervous playing with him. But I was more nervous, because I’ve not played since Savannah with Jay Haas and I didn’t’ play well there.”

Woods was rather complimentary of Couples’ play.

“(He) kicked my ass,” Woods said. “I didn’t score very well compared to how I hit it. I hit it pretty good. I just didn’t make anything today. Hopefully tomorrow, I’ll make a few more putts.”



Tiger Woods stands 27th after First Round of Memorial Tournament six shots back

DUBLIN, O. — The first round of the Memorial Tournament is in the books and the leader is not Tiger Woods, but he’s only six shots behind the leader.

Woods shot a 1-under 71. He has opened the Memorial with a round at par-or-better in 13 of his 14 years in playing Muirfield Village. The only other time that Woods opened the tournament in this Columbus, Ohio suburb, with a 71 was in 2000 and he won.

Tiger Woods (

The 37-year-old Woods, the defending champion, made five birdies and four bogeys.

Woods is six shots behind first round leader Charl Schwartzel who was brilliant with a 7-under-par 65, one shot ahead of Scott Piercy.

Woods was not pleased with his performance on Thursday. He hit 11 of 14 fairways, including all seven on the back nine, but struggled with other parts of his game. He needed 30 putts after hitting 13 greens in regulation. He even acknowledged that 53-year-old Fred Couples, who plays regularly on the Champions Tour played better than he did.

Couples, who likes playing with Woods, carded a 2-under-par 70 and is tied for 13th.

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