Welcome to the final newsletter before Open Championship week. Seven days from now we’ll all be sleep-deprived and high on Royal Portrush, but for now, we talk about TPC Deere Run. Roberto Díaz sets the pace after a first-round 62 while a quartet of players top the leaderboard at the Scottish Open.
Near and Deere to my heart
Per usual, scores were very low at the John Deere Classic on Thursday. It took a 66 to make the top 10, and Roberto Díaz bested everyone with his 62. Just four of the top 41 already have invites to Royal Portrush, so we can expect a heated battle this weekend. Leaderboard
Thursday was a round to remember for Roberto Díaz. He got off to a hot start at TPC Deere Run with four birdies in his first five holes. His 62 was good enough for a two-shot advantage heading into Friday’s round.
Roberto Díaz is a relative unknown on the PGA Tour. At 32 years old, he is in just his second full season in the Big Show after spending six years on PGA Tour Latinoamérica and the Korn Ferry Tour. He has had two top 10s on the PGA Tour in 2019 but hasn’t sniffed contention. A native of Mexico, Díaz has been searching for his breakthrough for many years. Four of the last eight John Deere Classic champions have been first time winners, so maybe this is his time.
- Two shots back of Díaz and is the duo of Adam Long and Russell Henley. Both players made eight birdies on their way to opening with 64s.
- Two weeks removed from a life-altering week at the Travelers Championship, Zack Sucher is back in the mix on the PGA Tour. Sucher opened with 65 and sits just three shots off the pace.
- 3M Open champion Matthew Wolff shot 68 despite losing strokes to the field on the greens. Expect Wolff to make a jump tomorrow if he can get a few putts to fall.
- Quick reminder that one spot in the Open Championship is available this week. Of the top 20, just Nate Lashley, Ryan Palmer, Joaquin Niemann, and Lucas Glover have their plane ticket to Royal Portrush.
Cease and desist
If the European Tour isn’t careful, they could find themselves in legal trouble for living too under par this week. More than one third of the Scottish Open field shot 67 or better on Thursday as players battered the Renaissance Club with birdies. Matt Kuchar, Romain Wattel, Edoardo Molinari, and Nino Bertasio lead the way with first round 63s. Of that group, just Kuchar is exempt for the Open Championship, so this could be a big week for the other three. Others in contention include Andy Sullivan (64), Thomas Pieters (64), Henrik Stenon (65), and Ian Poulter (65). Scottish Open Leaderboard
Nelson Ledesma leads through one round of the TPC Colorado Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour. The PGA Tour Latinoamérica product shot a 65 on Thursday, and will hold a two-shot lead heading into Friday. Recent college graduates Rico Hoey (USC), Will Zalatoris (Wake Forest), and Max Greyserman (Duke) sit two shots off the lead. Leaderboard
Youngin Chun and Alena Sharp sit atop the LPGA’s Marathon Classic. Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, and Jeongeun Lee6 are all in the mix. Leaderboard
The first round of the Senior Players Championship was suspended due to weather. Steve Stricker currently sits three shots clear of the field with many players still to finish. Leaderboard
Brooks Koepka and Brooke Henderson took home the ESPYs for best male and female golfers on Tuesday night.
The Battle at North Berwick: Morris vs. Park
In honor of a new print in our pro shop, Garrett Morrison tells the story of the epoch-defining match between Old and Young Tom and Willie and Mungo Park at North Berwick Links in 1875. Check out the article, then take a gander at the print.
Game of the Week: Wolfman
Lawson Klotz offers another option for those awkward groups of three.
Shotgun Start: Can a no-cut event be a major, Hosung in the heartland, and “The Pool Boy”
This Friday episode begins with a review of the early action at the John Deere, where almost everyone (but not Cameron Champ) is living under par. We discuss Bobby Díaz separating himself slightly at the top, Hosung miraculously leading in a strokes gained category, and Robert Allenby’s activities around the Quad Cities region. We also discuss some low early scores at the Scottish Open, the yardage hype of the Colorado KFC tournament, and the revelation that the senior major this week is a limited field no-cut event, which has Andy staggered. We also pass along notes from a listener’s pro-am round with “The Assassin.” Two tweets—one from Bryson and one from PXG—get a close reading and critique. In Fan Vote Friday, Jr., we give you some quick notes on DJ Trahan (whose dad is definitely editing his own Wikipedia page), Chad Campbell, a Hooters Tour legend, and Bronson Burgoon. A glorious Flashback Friday on the Quad Cities Classic focuses on “The Grip,” “The Pool Boy,” and “The Tiger Killer,” who are, oddly enough, all the same person. We wrap with news of Rory Sabbatini getting into The Open. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify
Print of the Week
If you missed our Wednesday newsletter, our print of the week is the 7th hole at Northwood Golf Club. This nine-hole, municipal Alister MacKenzie design weaves through redwood trees, a unique environment for golf. Pick up your print today! A portion of every purchase goes towards the Daniel Murphy Fund Foundation, helping provide education to disadvantaged children in the Chicagoland area.