Conditions were ideal for the opening round of the Memorial Tournament, where a number of big names went low. Here’s how things look in the early going, as Jason Dufner and David Lingmerth share the lead:
Leaderboard: Jason Dufner (-7), David Lingmerth (-7), Daniel Summerhays (-6), Jordan Spieth (-6), Justin Thomas (-5), Lucas Glover (-5)
What it means: Lingmerth earned his lone PGA Tour win at this event two years ago, and he set the early mark with a 65 that came despite a bogey on the final hole. He was later joined by Dufner, nearly four years removed from his major title at Oak Hill, while Spieth and Thomas headline the chase pack who made the most of calm conditions in the morning wave.
Round of the day: Dufner was a ball-striking machine, hitting 17 greens in regulation before finding a greenside bunker on No. 18. Dufner made three front-nine birdies to go along with an eagle on the par-5 seventh hole, then added three more birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 11-15 before making his only bogey of the day on the home hole.
Best of the rest: Lingmerth beat Justin Rose in a playoff here in 2015, and he again rekindled that form during the opening round. The Swede rattled off five birdies on the front nine, including four in a row on Nos. 5-8, then had a tumultuous inward half that included three bogeys, an eagle on No. 15 and only two pars.
Biggest disappointment: Dustin Johnson hasn’t finished outside the top 15 since January, but he’ll be lucky to make the cut after a 6-over 78 in the opening round. The world No. 1 didn’t make a single birdie all day, carded a three-putt double on No. 6 and a watery triple on No. 16. At 6 over, he’s already 13 shots off the lead and ahead of only three players in the 119-man field.
Main storyline heading into Friday: The leaders both have some positive experience at this event upon which they can build, but the player to watch in the second round is Spieth. Whatever issues he had last month appear to have been ironed out, as he quickly translated the momentum from a runner-up at Colonial into an opening-round 66 that has him poised to contend for his second win of the year.
Shot of the day: Rickie Fowler was facing a treacherous up-and-down from a bunker behind the 18th green, but after taking a mighty lash he got the ball to quickly spin and ultimately creep over the front edge of the hole for an unexpected birdie. The shot capped a roller-coaster day for Fowler, who shot a 2-under 70 after eight birdies, three bogeys and a triple.
Quote of the day: “Kind of figured it could be a good day when on your off shots, you’re making birdie.” – Spieth who, like Fowler, converted a tricky bunker shot into an improbable birdie when his shot hit the pin and dropped on the par-3 12th.