After an odd Day 1 where many of the big names ‘under-performed’ and a weather delay, Friday should prove demonstrated again that on any given day, any professional golfer can win on the PGA Tour. As predicted, there were many low scores and the 63 (-9) by Robert Garrigus was the highlight. It will be interesting to see if he can back it up with another very low scores. His low score was memorable, however the play of the big names was very surprising to me.
In case you missed it, here is the highlights of the first day:
I watched most of the play from Glen Abby Golf Course yesterday and I can say that I was not impressed by the featured groups. Forget their score for a minute because I want to focus on how they played the course. At least in my opinion, the big hitters were not forced to use course management (like at Carnoustie and The Open), they hit the ball as far as they could and played many shots from the rough and longer grass. I appreciated that this is a strategy, but not one that leads to winning a golf tournament.
The second aspect of relatively poor play was club selection. I have never witnessed so many top players hitting the wrong club. They over-clubbed more in the first day at The RBC Canadian Open then I have seen all year on tour. It seemed that they routinely missed long; this was a bit disturbing because in one case Dustin Johnson would have been 30 yards long! I can say from experience that many of the back nine holes are in a valley shielded from the wind. Given the unstable weather yesterday, this might have contributed to the poor club choice. I hope Day 2 offers better approach shots for the players.
What I did like about Day 1 was the play around the green. The grass surrounding the green was lush, deep and thick. This type of grass is akin to what most Canadians play in daily. Additionally, the ball usually settled down making it challenging to get the club face on the ball. Hence, the players used a variety of techniques to softly pop the ball close to the pin. They used different wedges, stances, swings to nudge the ball out of purgatory to offer a chance at the elusive (at least for most amateurs) ‘up and down’. The short game was on fire yesterday and I enjoyed watching and learning.
Day 2 should be interesting. I expect that many players will perform better as they realize that bashing the ball as far as possible is not necessarily the best strategy. Brooks Koepka is in danger of missing the cut, but if he puts in a round we know he can shoot he will around for the weekend. Weather will be better today, sunny with a few wind gusts, so that should not be a factor in and out of the valley. Overall, it is shaping up to be a great Day 2 at The 2018 RBC Canadian Open.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!