The young guns have served notice at the Memorial golf Tournament. Some of the old guard struggled on the par 72 Muirfield course with excitement thrown in for electricity. There is a six-way tie for the lead after day one at the course that Jack Nicklaus built. Canadian Mackenzie Hughes, American’s Davis Riley, Cameron Young, Luke List, Aussie Cameron Smith and South Korean K. H. Lee sit at five under par as play continues Friday. Early favorites like Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm struggled for consistency and ended with even par 72’s.
This 2022 PGA Tour season has seen the young 20-somethings roll through the season like no other time recently. Rookies Young and Riley would love to shake the hand of Jack at the end of the day Sunday, which would mean they would etch their name with few others in winning the Memorial as rookies.
Cameron Smith has the game (and his signature mullet) to stay near the top every day, but what a weekend it’s turning out to be. With so many veteran golfers behind, this could be the kind of weekend where some crazy shot or event on the course will dictate the winner. Why not? Last year Rahm was leading by 6 shots heading into the last day when he found he had tested positive for COVID and was forced to withdraw. Yesterday, a former winner WAS forced out…with a disqualification. Hideki Matsuyama was sent home due to an excessive amount of a substance on his three wood. He had used White Out to aid him in setting up his shots on the face of his club. The PGA ruled that it was excessive, and he was DQ’d after nine holes.
The Memorial Tournament, Thursday’s play notes:
Will Zalatoris is one stroke back and had a solid day. He can win this and a major soon.
Max Homa is in the giant group at -3 and was a quiet choice for making waves in this tournament. Max had four birdies in a row until he got to the par three 8th and finished with a double bogey. He can get hot quickly.
Rory McElroy, Xander Schauffele, and Jordan Spieth are part of the 2 under group. Xander’s start to the back side went birdie, bogey, birdie, eagle. His lob wedge from 81 yards out after a monster drive that cut the dog leg found the cup to the roar of the crowd. He starts his Friday on the back, as well.
— Xander Schauffele (@XSchauffele) June 3, 2022
Rory hit solid shots all day but just couldn’t get a putt to drop. If he finds his flat stick stroke, look out! Jordan was outstanding on par 3’s. Two of his birdies came on the tough #12 and #16. His irons were right on the stick and his putts perfect for both.
Rickie Fowler was a late addition to the Memorial field via an exemption. And so far the Cowboy from Oklahoma State is taking advantage of the opportunity. His two under 70 was pretty consistent with four birdies, two bogeys and the rest pars. What a remarkable story if he can contend. His 2022 has been full of missed cuts and Tied for 20th or worse.
Jon Rahm had a quiet front nine at one under, but then hit a ball into the creek on #11 and his backside was an up and down affair after that. He took a double bogey 7 on #11 then hit birdies in three of his next four holes and closed with two bogeys. But he still ended the day with good strokes gained on the field.
At the end of the day, the Vegas oddsmakers alter the odds for golfers. It’s surprising how they still give respect to the young leaders. Undoubtedly they are still favoring how well these rookies have played the last month on the tour. If you are looking for an edge, Will Zalatoris and Shane Lowry could be good bets today! Will (12-1) and Shane (14-1). Shane’s Strokes Gained is unbelievable over the past 20 rounds.
Will doesn’t have a win this year but six top 10’s and eight top 25’s is impressive. If his putt for the win at the Farmer’s didn’t mystically jump left at the hole, he could be in the running for early Player of the Year.
Friday, with gorgeous weather predicted, should have more excitement in store for the fans. These youngsters had a magnificent view of the ninth hole yesterday!
You can view the tournament on Paramount+ this weekend, CBS Saturday and Sunday, The Golf Channel all day Friday and livestream on golfchannel.com.
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