Golf

Scheffler hits course record

  • Bermuda’s Kenny Leseur plays a shot at Port Royal yesterday

Scottie Scheffler blazed a course record to grab early control of the inaugural PGA Tour Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course yesterday.

The 23-year-old Dallas native leads the field by one shot after firing an opening nine-under-par 62, which included eight birdies, an eagle at the 17th and a solitary bogey.

Scheffler made the turn at six under and was equally as steady coming in, despite carding a bogey on the final hole after missing one of only three greens in regulation during his stroll around the Robert Trent Jones Sr-designed par-71 layout.

A birdie on his 1st hole, the 10th, set the tone for the former University of Texas player’s superb round, which also tied his career low score.

“I got off to a good start,” Scheffler said. “I played a great front nine and then kept hitting it well. Then we made the turn and I started to keep hitting good shots and gave myself some good looks. I had a lot of good looks inside of ten feet for birdie and did a good job of rolling those in.”

The previous course record of seven under par was jointly held by Bermuda’s Camiko Smith and Australian Adam Scott.

Scott set the record on the way to victory at the 2013 PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which was equalled by Smith four years later while competing in the Gosling’s Invitational. Scheffler was not the only one taking advantage of excellent scoring conditions as there is a bunch of players breathing right down his neck to keep things tight at the top of the pecking order.

One shot behind the leader is Wes Roach whose 63 included eight birdies, an eagle at the 7th and two bogeys, tied his career best score.

“I putted nicely, hit a lot of good shots,” the Knoxville, Tennessee, native said. “Overall, pleased with the start.”

Tied for third a further shot back is the trio of Rob Oppenheim, Bo Hoag and Russell Knox, who all shot seven under.

Oppenheim, one of four players posting bogey-free rounds, birdied seven of the first eight holes then parred the final ten.

“It’s kind of a dream start to come out here and birdie seven of the first eight,” he said. “Made a lot of putts. ... I didn’t play much different, just the putter was hot on the first nine and kind of a little cold the last nine.

“It was a great start, unfortunate I didn’t keep it going. But if you told me seven under to start the day, start the week, I’d sign up.”

Harry Higgs, Robert Streb and Knox were the other players posting bogey-free rounds.

Such is the congestion at the top of the leaderboard that only five shots separate the top 24.

Lanto Griffin, the FedEx Cup points leader, was among a bunch of players who posted even par.

Also competing are local professionals Michael Sims, Dwayne Pearman and Daniel Augustus, as well as Jarryd Dillas and Kenny Leseur, the only amateur players in the field.

Sims, a former Web.com Tour player, coped best among them as he carded a 72 that left him tied with a group of players including former Masters champion Mike Weir.

Augustus is one shot further back with former PGA Championship winner and US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III.

Dillas posted five over, while Leseur, who at the age of 15 is the eighth-youngest player to compete in a PGA Tour event, carded six over. Pearman is propping up the field after shooting 80.