McGirt, Compton and Hoge tied for the lead at 8-under after the first round, Woods 2 strokes back.
Cloudy skies with scattered showers opened up to beautiful sunny skies in the afternoon for the opening round of the 2015 Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro. At the end of the day, North Carolina’s own William McGirt and Tom Hoge are tied for the lead with Erik Compton at -8.
Lumberton, N.C. native William McGirt was the early leader in the clubhouse, shooting an opening round and career-low -8, 62. He posted eight birdies and zero bogeys. Starting on the back nine, he recorded birdies on #10, #13, #15, #16 and #18 before making the turn. Birdies on #3, #5 and #8 closed out his blemish-free round. The Wofford College (Spartanburg, S.C.) graduate is looking for his first career victory. His best finish on tour is second place at both the 2012 and 2013 RBC Canadian Open.
Erik Compton joined him shortly with his own -8, 62 bogey-free round after a birdie barrage on his last nine holes. Starting on the back, he birdied #15 to make the turn at -1. He then blistered the front nine with seven birdies, including his last four holes. He made par on #2 and #5 to post a nine-hole score of -7, 28. It tied the tournament record for Low-9 Hole Score at Sedgefield C.C. since 2008 with Briny Baird, who shot 28 on the back nine in 2008. It also set a new Front-9 record. The previous front-nine record of 29 was shared by nine players, most recently David Toms in 2013.
Tom Hoge, born in Statesville, N.C., started off strong, shooting -6 on the front nine with an eagle on #5 and four birdies. He finished the back with two birdies, including on #18 to turn in a round of –8, 62. He set a tournament record for lowest first round by a player in their first Wyndham Championship appearance. Martin Laird shot a -7, 63 in his first time at Sedgefield C.C. in 2008.
Jim Herman shot an opening round -7, 63 to trail by one stroke. His bogeyless round included birdies on four of his last five holes, and three straight on Holes 14-16. It also sets a new career low round, surpassing the 64 he shot in the second round of the 2011 Wyndham Championship. Herman, who is looking for his first PGA TOUR victory, has two Top-7 finishes this season.
He was tied for 4th at one stroke back of the leaders with Derek Ernst and Morgan Hoffman at -7, 63. Ernst did not post a bogey, and birdied #14-16 on his way into the clubhouse. He is looking for his second PGA TOUR win, claiming the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C. Ernst doesn’t have a top-10 since his 2013 win. This is the last event of his exemption and he responded with a career-low 63.
Hoffman also had a bogey-free round, posting five birdies and one eagle, on #15. Starting on the back nine, he posted four birdies in his last eight holes to close out the round. It was just his fourth sub-70 round in nine rounds played at the Wyndham Championship.
Tiger Woods opened with a roar in his first Wyndham Championship appearance. He finished the day at -6, 64, good for T7, two strokes back. Starting on the back, Woods posted four birdies and a bogey before tackling the front nine. Birdies on #1, #4 and #5 closed out his scoring for the day.
Tiger was tied for 7th at -6, 64 with Carl Petterssen, Davis Love III and Martin Kaymer. Petterssen, the 2008 Wyndham Championship winner and NC State graduate, has notched four Top-5 finishes in the last seven years in Greensboro. Love, the 1992 and 2006 Wyndham Championship winner, recorded seven birdies and one bogey. Kaymer, the 2014 U.S. Open and 2010 PGA Championship winner, played in the Wyndham Championship just once before, finishing T20 in 2013.
If Derek Ernst is holding the Sam Snead Trophy on Sunday, he will be the second player to complete the North Carolina Career Slam. He won the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C. Joey Sindelar won the Wyndham Championship in 1985 and the Wells Fargo Championship in 2004.
Eight players have won the Wyndham Championship in their first appearance. Most recently, Brandt Snedeker in 2007 won the event in his first try. Others accomplishing the feat were Bud Allin-1971, Seve Ballesteros-1978, Art Doering-1951, Bob Goalby-1958, Stan Leonard-1957, Frank Nobilo-1997 and Sam Snead-1938.
Since 1976, only five first round leaders went on to win the Wyndham Championship. The last were defending champion Camilo Villegas in 2014, Arjun Atwal in 2010 and Jesper Parnevik in 1999.
The Wyndham Championship victor has also been a PGA TOUR first-time winner in five of the last eight years.