PGA DFS Podcast - The Northern Trust
Mike Alexander and Donald Remington preview The Northern Trust PGA tournament.
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Carl Yuan tossed together a 4-under 68 on day one of the RBC Canadian Open, putting him in a share of fifth place with three days remaining.
The PGA TOUR rookie has yet to hit his stride on the big stage. He entered with 10 straight finishes of T55 or worse. He had some time to reflect in recent weeks and get his mental game recharged, "I think I had a couple weeks off the last couple weeks. Yeah, it's kind of thinking what I do well and what was good about my game. I don't think there's much changing technique-wise, it's just mentally. I mean, there's more passion, more love for the game. It's tough coming out here trying to protect, trying to make cuts. Just have a good time and shoot a good score, yeah." This will be the first time that Yuan has positioned himself inside of the top 10 after round one of a PGA TOUR event. His top finish of the season is a T21 at the Sony Open and his career-best finish is a T17 at the 2019-20 WGC-HSBC Champions.
Added Jun 08 9:08 pm (EST)
Brendon Todd withdrew mid-event last week at the Memorial Tournament citing a shoulder injury, but rebounded nicely in round one of the RBC Canadian Open, twirling a 4-under 68 to find a share of fifth place.
The straight shooter had some question marks entering the week so shortly after a mid-tournament WD. He didn't live up to his sharpshooter reputation today, finding just 8-of-15 fairways but his short game was sharp. He gained 1.4 strokes around-the-green and 2.7 strokes putting. Todd is well-positioned at 50th in the FedExCup race so his shoulder must not be a concern at all as he likely wouldn't tee it up if there were any chance of making it worse. He's just one shot off the pace heading into Friday.
Added Jun 08 8:07 pm (EST)
Back-to-back RBC Canadian Open champ Rory McIlroy opened his week with a 1-under 71, putting him in a share of 37th place with 54 holes to play.
McIlroy said he had mixed emotions about the early-week merger news. With a few days to sleep on it, he put his full focus on the golf today, "Rosie and I said, All right, no chatting until lunch so that we can actually concentrate on what we're doing out there. We started to get in a conversation walking down the 1st and we're like, No, let's stop this. Let's just focus on our golf and we'll say what we want to say when we get inside. So it was nice to play a round of golf and focus on something else for those five hours we were out there." McIlroy had a sloppy day from tee-to-green but his putter bailed him out. If his typical ball-striking returns then he could make a big move over the next three days.
Added Jun 08 7:59 pm (EST)
Corey Conners coasted to a bogey-free, 5-under 67 in round one of the RBC Canadian Open, good for a share of the lead after wave one.
The Canadian will be a fan favorite this week and he gave those fans a show today. Conners piped 11-of-15 fairways (T6 from the morning wave) and landed 16 GIR (best of the morning wave). That steady striking allowed a stress-free navigation of Oakdale in round one. Conners currently shares the early lead with three other golfers (Aaron Rai, Justin Lower, and Chesson Hadley). If this lead holds then it would be the fifth time holding a first-round lead or co-lead for Conners. The most recent instance came at the 2023 Valero Texas Open which he went on to win.
Added Jun 08 3:05 pm (EST)
Chesson Hadley tossed together a 5-under 67 in round one of the RBC Canadian Open, good for a share of the clubhouse lead after the morning wave.
Hadley had his game clicking today but he cited his short game for being the star of the show. "I putted great. I did a lot of things well. My iron play was pretty sharp. But the putter was the MVP. That's the strength of my game. I just need to give myself enough opportunities and we'll be in good shape. I was able to do that today." Hadley piped 10-of-15 fairways and landed 13 GIR, both inside of the top 20 from the morning wave. From there, he gained one stroke around-the-green and two strokes putting. Hadley arrived on the heels of four straight missed cuts but has flipped that script through 18 holes at Oakdale. If this co-lead hold it would be his third time holding a first-round lead or co-lead on the PGA TOUR and first since the 2021 John Deere Classic.
Added Jun 08 2:50 pm (EST)
Making his first start as a pro, Ludvig Aberg styled a 3-under 69 in round one of the RBC Canadian Open, placing him right on the top-10 bubble as the afternoon wave takes to the course.
The young Swede may be making his first start as a pro golfer but he proved quickly that his game belongs. He gained 2.7 strokes off-the-tee this morning, walking off the course easily ranked number one in the field. On the flip side, he landed just 12 greens in regulation, losing close to a stroke on approach. "I was nervous. I mean, I think it would have been weird if I wasn't nervous. But I tried to embrace it. I tried to view it as something fun. " The former World No. 1 amateur will need to tidy up his iron play if he wants to rise on the leaderboard by week's end.
Added Jun 08 2:25 pm (EST)
Justin Lower rocketed out of the gate with a 5-under 67 on day one of the RBC Candian Open, good for an early piece of the clubhouse lead.
Lower entered the week on a run of 19 straight events without a top-40 finish. He's looking to change that in Canada and his opening lap certainly has him moving in the right direction. He steadied 14 GIR and then rolled his rock with +2.6 strokes gained putting. "I've been really working hard on driving it better. I've driven it like crap all year. So, yeah, just really trying to get the ball in the fairway. Especially around this place with the rough being so thick. I drove it okay today. Not perfect by any means. But drove it pretty well." The highlight of his day was a walkoff eagle at the par-5 18th (7 feet, 8 inches). This co-lead may not hold by day's end but if it does it would be his second time posting a FRL on the PGA TOUR (T4/2022-23 Fortinet Championship).
Added Jun 08 2:20 pm (EST)
Aaron Rai stumbled out of the gate in round one of the RBC Canadian Open but rallied late to recover and snag a share of the early lead on the live leaderboard (5-under 67).
The Englishman swallowed two bogeys and a double bogey in the first four holes but didn't hang his head. He responded with birdies on eight of his final 12 holes played. "So there are a lot of good things that went into today that hopefully we can take moving forward. But it's funny, the more you try and force it and impose it on coming days, the less it seems to happen. So we'll definitely take the positives and just try and approach the rounds with the right kind of mindset. Stay patient. Just see what happens, really." Rai arrived with missed cuts in four of his last five starts but a T12 finish in the other event (Charles Schwab Challenge). Rai co-led the morning wave in fairways hit (12) and led in strokes gained approach (+3.7). If this co-lead holds then it would be his third time posting a first-round lead or co-lead on the PGA TOUR (52nd/2023 Farmers Insurance Open; T48/2023 RBC Heritage).
Added Jun 08 1:59 pm (EST)