Death, taxes, and Rory McIlroy at Quail Hollow. Continuing his dominant play in 2019, the Northern Irishman sits tied atop the Wells Fargo Championship leaderboard with Joel Dahmen. Meanwhile, Robby Shelton and Jorge Campillo lead their respective tours yet again, and more than a dozen women find themselves in contention on the LPGA Tour.

Empty bird

Quail Hollow is known for being one of the most difficult courses on the PGA Tour, and Thursday’s round was no exception. Less than a third of the field broke par on Thursday, with McIlroy and Dahmen leading the charge with 66s. Rory finished his round with five birdies over his last nine holes while Joel Dahmen was bogey-free over his first 18 holes. Rory is obviously the better known of the two, but Dahmen has played solid golf this season and already has six top-25 finishes. Leaderboard


  • Rory’s strong play at Quail Hollow should not come as a surprise to anyone. Since 2010, he has led all players in scoring average, score to par, birdies/eagles per round, and rounds in the 60s at the club (via Justin Ray). He has also been the hottest golfer on the planet over the last three months, already amassing six top-six finishes in 2019.

  • Patrick Reed is in a tie for third after a first-round 67. Reed’s play has not been strong since winning the Masters last season. He only has one top 10 this season and hasn’t had any since the beginning of 2019 but has recently enlisted the help of David Ledbetter.

  • Also tied for third are Adam Shenk, Martin Laird, Nick Taylor, and Dylan Frittelli. Taylor and Laird are the only ones of this group to have won on the tour before, but Frittelli and Shenk are both strong young players.

  • Former Wells Fargo Championship winners Jason Day and Brian Harman are tied for eighth after one round. No player has ever won this event back to back, and Rory is the only one to have won here twice.

  • Somehow, J.J. Henry shot 70 on Thursday and sits in a tie for 27th. The purple mamba is one of just two players to play in all 17 Wells Fargo Championships, so maybe he knows a thing or two about Quail Hollow.

Nashville hot (and wet)

For the second time in the last three weeks, Robby Shelton finds himself atop a Thursday leaderboard. Shelton shot a first-round 64 in Nashville yesterday, getting himself into contention for the third week in a row. He finished runner-up at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Championship two weeks ago and ended up T-4 last week in Texas. Brandon Matthews is one shot back after firing 65 over his opening 18 holes. Because of a rain delay, the first round is not yet complete and will finish up on Friday. Leaderboard

LPGA Mediheal

A pair of South Koreans, Eun-Hee Ji and So Yeon Ryu are tied for the lead along with sweet swinging Anne van Dam after one round of the LPGA Mediheal Championship. Van Dam has made a name for herself on social media thanks to the monstrous drives that her wonderful golf swing produces. Amy Yang, Moriya Jutanugarn, and Charley Hull are among the other notables in the top 10. Leaderboard

Spanish Armada

Don’t let the man get hot! Coming off his first European Tour win, Jorge Campillo is once again at the top of the leaderboard. Campillo shot a first-round 65 and sits in a three-way tie for the lead at the Volvo China Open. Tied with the Spaniard are David Lipsky and Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen. Haotong Li, Ashun Wu, and Daxing Jin are all inside the top 10, looking to win in their home country of China. Volvo China Open Leaderboard

A bucket lister

Yesterday, we gave the full Fried Egg treatment to Rustic Canyon Golf Club, an affordable public masterpiece in California. Check out all the content:

  • A video featuring tasty drone shots and narration by co-designer Geoff Shackelford

  • An article by Garrett Morrison on Rustic Canyon’s place in the history of Southern California golf architecture

  • A podcast with Shackelford that covers the design of the course, its strategy, and its initial reception

Quick hooks

European Tour commissioner Keith Pelley announced that the European Tour will return to Saudi Arabia in 2020. He claims to want to help the country grow the sport of golf, and is seemingly turning a blind eye to the heinous crimes the Saudi government has committed against its own citizens. Full Story from Joel Beall

The NCAA regionals are set for both the men and the women. The women’s regionals will run from May 6-8 while the men will play May 13-15.

Megan Furtney and Erica Shephard, future Duke teammates, teamed up to win the US Women’s Amateur Four-Ball this week. They closed out Jillian Bourdage and Casey Weidenfeld 2&1 to take home the title. Scoring

The USGA is cutting about 15% of its employees this month. There are no signs that the organization is struggling for cash, meaning we will have to keep our eyes out for more details about the situation. Full Story from Rex Hoggard

The Latest Podcasts and Articles

Episode 135: Geoff Shackelford Part II

In part two of our latest podcast with Geoff Shackelford, Andy and Geoff discuss the design of Rustic Canyon. They discuss the role of affordable golf and more importantly, municipal golf as well as the superintendent industry. Geoff also asks Andy about the progression of his drone photography. If you missed part one check it out as the two talk about the recent happenings in golf. Listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify.

The Pace Car breaks down, Nepotism comes to Colonial, and Staff Sergeant Jason Day

We get a little loose on this Friday episode. We begin with a quick leaderboard check-in, discussing Rory and Joel Dahmen in Charlotte and Anne van Dam (and the Dutch population at large) leading on the LPGA. This also leads to Andy proposing a dramatic overhaul to Olympic golf, where regions, and not nations, are represented. We also discuss The Pace Car blowing a tire and withdrawing after an opening round 80, as well as the telepathic Team Reed maybe sorting out their swing. In Flashback Friday, Andy takes us down a memory lane occupied by Rory McIlroy, Billy Mayfair, and Wells Fargo Ironman J.J. Henry. We wrap with news we either care or don’t care about from the past couple days, hitting on teetotaler Bubba endorsing CBD, some extreeeemely crooked exemptions at Colonial that will leave you choking on nepotism, Keith Pelley’s tone deaf comments on the Euro Tour’s role in Saudi Arabia’s evolution, Lydia Ko parting ways with another coach, Tiger’s big boat sailing to Long Island, Jason Day’s dream of being in the military and the idea of him blowing into balloons in the trenches or on the Black Hawk, and lastly, Victor Dubuisson giving up wine, getting in shape, and dreaming of a return to the Ryder CupListen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify