Golf enthusiasts, rejoice! The 2023 Travelers Championship is here, and it’s already shaping up to be one of the most exciting tournaments of the year. (w3.org) (w3.org) With the likes of Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, and defending champion Xander Schauffele in attendance, fans were eagerly anticipating some low scores at TPC River Highlands. And boy, did they deliver!
The first round saw more than 600 birdies, which meant that the leaderboard was packed with players who shot under par. (apnews.com) Keegan Bradley set the early pace with a 62, while Adam Scott was 9 under with two holes to play. A double-bogey on the 17th hole derailed his efforts, but he bounced back with a birdie on the 18th to finish with a 62. (golfweek.usatoday.com) Meanwhile, Denny McCarthy finished with a bogey-free 60 to take sole possession of the overnight lead.
But the real highlight of the day was McCarthy’s incredible performance, which saw him come within inches of shooting a 58. That’s right – a 58! He missed out on the record by just a few inches, but he didn’t let that dampen his spirits. “We’ve played some hard golf courses the last few weeks. My last two events have been U.S. Open and Memorial, so coming into a place that doesn’t quite beat you up as much, it’s a little bit of a mindset change,” he said afterwards. “It was nice to know from the start that it was getable.”
Of course, McCarthy wasn’t the only player to impress on the first day of the tournament. Scottie Scheffler continued his consistent form with an opening-round 63, which saw him make seven birdies and no bogeys. Since finishing T-45 at the CJ Cup last October, Scheffler’s worst finish in a PGA Tour event has been T-12 at the Genesis Invitational. He has two wins and 14 top 10s in his last 17 events, and nothing about his performance on Thursday would lead anyone to think he won’t be in the mix on Sunday.
Meanwhile, U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark had a bit of a whirlwind day. He was bombarded with media requests and opportunities after his win, but he still managed to show up and shoot 2-under 68. “Being on the Today Show and Good Morning America and ESPN and Fox News and all the things I went to, was awesome. Then running into some big-time celebrities that knew who I was and wanted to take a picture with me, rather than vice versa,” he said.
Unfortunately, not everyone had a great day on the course. Justin Thomas, for instance, struggled to keep up with the rest of the field, shooting an even-par 70 that left him 10 shots off the lead. His putting has been terrible this season, and he needed 32 putts to complete his round on Thursday. He’ll need to play much better on Friday if he hopes to avoid missing a third straight cut.
Despite the ups and downs of the first day, there’s still a lot to look forward to at the 2023 Travelers Championship. With so many players shooting low scores, it’s anyone’s game at this point. Who will come out on top? Will someone manage to break Jim Furyk’s course record of 58? Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure – this tournament is going to be a birdie bonanza! (twitter.com)
So grab your clubs, put on your best golfing outfit, and get ready for a weekend of excitement and drama. Who knows – you might even learn a thing or two about the game of golf. And if all else fails, just remember – a bad day on the golf course is still better than a good day at the office! 😊