Cauley Fires 63, Leads RBC Heritage; Donald Again Near Top

Those who are still disoriented from Sergio Garcia’s stunning victory at The Masters last weekend would be well served looking at the leaderboard of this week’s RBC Heritage, where they can be comforted in seeing that some things never change.

 
Former #1 in the world Luke Donald, who has finished in the top three in six of his last eight attempts at Harbour Town without a victory (four 2nds, two 3rds), sits in a tie for second after the first round of the RBC Heritage.

Despite not even qualifying for The Masters this season, he again finds himself in the early mix in Hilton Head. His six-under 65 was surpassed by only Bud Cauley, who shot a bogey-free eight-under 63 to lead Donald, Graham DeLaet, and Sam Saunders.

Top 10

1 Bud Cauley -8
T2 Luke Donald, Graham DeLaet, Sam Saunders -6
T5 Shane Lowry, Russell Henley, Danny Lee, Ian Poulter, Ben Crane, Webb Simpson -5

Other Notables

T11 Anirban Lahiri, Hideto Tanihara -4
T19 Matt Kuchar, Andrew “Beef” Johnston, Jim Furyk, Brendan Grace -3
T35 Tyrell Hatton, Brandt Snedeker -2
T53 Billy Horschel, Ernie Els -1
T72 Bill Haas, Danny Willett, Adam Hadwin E
T91 Boo Weekley, Davis Love III +1
T109 Matthew Fitzpatrick, Charley Hoffman +2
T118 Rafa Cabrera-Bello +3
T125 Keegan Bradley +4

How the Leader Did It

Bud Cauley had two birdie spurts over his first 18 holes, starting with three on the first five holes, and then after a long string of pars and one birdie, he finished with birdies on 14, 16, 17, and 18 to get to -8 for the day.

 
Cauley had no trouble finding Harbour Towns famously small greens, hitting 17 of 18 greens in regulation, the best of anyone in the field. He also tied for the lead in driving accuracy, hitting 12 of 14 fairways.

It’s a very promising start for a man who has mostly struggled this season, missing seven cuts in 13 events, including his past two. He has finished in the top 40 in just two of those events, a T3 at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and a T27 at the Honda Classic, the latter of which occurred in February and was the last tournament he finished under par.

Contending Early

Defending champion Brendan Grace started where he left off in 2016, carding five birdies against just two bogeys to shoot a three-under 68, which currently has him tied for 19th.

 
Ian Poulter has not been on many PGA leaderboards in recent years, but held up extremely well over his first 18 holes, with a lone birdie on the first, and then six birdies over his last 17 holes to shoot a five-under 66, putting him in a tie for fifth place. Poulter struggled off the tees, hitting just six of 14 fairways, but still gave himself birdie chances with a great iron game. Poulter has not finished inside the top 35 of a tournament since a T17 at the season-opening CIMB Classic in October.

 
Joining Poulter at -5 was Northern Ireland’s Shane Lowry. Lowry has not found much success on the PGA since blowing a large third round lead at last year’s U.S. Open, but was able to put his doubts aside today, carding seven birdies on his round. Lowry did his best work on the greens, ranking second in the field in strokes gained: putting.

We Expected More

Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello is officially in a slump. He was tremendous in 2016, but after a three-over 74 where he dropped five strokes in a six-hole midround span, Cabrera-Bello again finds himself near the bottom of the leaderboard, the same place he found himself at The Masters last week (missed cut) and the Shell Houston Open the week before (also missed the cut).

 
One player who has looked good this year is former PGA Champion Keegan Bradley. Bradley, however, looked completely lost over his first nine holes (he started on the back nine) carding three bogeys and two double-bogeys before the turn. He rebounded a little, playing his back nine two strokes under par, but by then the damage had been done. Bradley finished with a four-over 75.

Charley Hoffman contended at The Masters, at least for the first three rounds, but couldn’t find his form in round one at Harbour Town, as double bogeys on 12 and 14 lead to a finish of two-over 73. Hoffman ranked a dismal 121st in the 132-man field in shots gained: tee to green.

Quotable

“I drove the ball really well. That’s kind of first and foremost out here; it’s not that long, but you have to position your ball around the tee, and I was able to do that and get some short clubs in and make some birdies.”
Bud Cauley, Round 1 Leader

The Leaderboard

RBC Heritage, Round One – April 13, 2017

POSPLAYERTO PARSTROKES
1Bud Cauley-863
T2Luke Donald-665
T2Graham DeLaet-665
T2Sam Saunders-665
T5Shane Lowry-566
T5Russell Henley-566
T5Danny Lee-566
T5Ian Poulter-566
T5Ben Crane-566
T5Webb Simpson-566
T11Jason Bohn-467
T11Anirban Lahiri-467
T11J.J. Spaun-467
T11Grayson Murray-467
T11Harold Varner, III-467
T11Cameron Smith-467
T11Francesco Molinari-467
T11Hideto Tanihara-467
T19Matt Kuchar-368
T19Martin Kaymer-368
T19Jason Kokrak-368
T19Ollie Schniederjans-368
T19Rafael Campos-368
T19Andrew Johnston-368
T19Ryan Palmer-368
T19Spencer Levin-368
T19Brian Gay-368
T19William McGirt-368
T19Hunter Mahan-368
T19Jason Dufner-368
T19Pat Perez-368
T19Jim Furyk-368
T19Marc Leishman-368
T19Branden Grace-368
T35Steve Marino-269
T35Wesley Bryan-269
T35Rod Pampling-269
T35K.J. Choi-269
T35Billy Hurley III-269
T35Brian Stuard-269
T35Meen Whee Kim-269
T35Chad Campbell-269
T35Sung-hoon Kang-269
T35Mark Anderson-269
T35Martin Laird-269
T35Tyrrell Hatton-269
T35Nick Taylor-269
T35Brandt Snedeker-269
T35Jonas Blixt-269
T35Carl Pettersson-269
T35Shawn Stefani-269
T35Tommy Gainey-269
T53Kyle Reifers-170
T53Yuta Ikeda-170
T53Patrick Cantlay-170
T53John Huh-170
T53Charles Howell III-170
T53Stewart Cink-170
T53Kevin Na-170
T53Billy Horschel-170
T53Ernie Els-170
T53Tyrone van Aswegen-170
T53Ryo Ishikawa-170
T53Johnson Wagner-170
T53Zac Blair-170
T53Chris Kirk-170
T53Vijay Singh-170
T53Russell Knox-170
T53David Hearn-170
T53Mark Hubbard-170
T53Camilo Villegas-170
T72Michael KimE71
T72Roberto CastroE71
T72Andrew LoupeE71
T72Bill HaasE71
T72D.A. PointsE71
T72Troy MerrittE71
T72Steven BowditchE71
T72Danny WillettE71
T72Brian HarmanE71
T72Kyle StanleyE71
T72Cheng Tsung PanE71
T72Ben MartinE71
T72Alex CejkaE71
T72Peter MalnatiE71
T72Vaughn TaylorE71
T72Adam HadwinE71
T72Aaron BaddeleyE71
T72Blayne BarberE71
T72Ryan BlaumE71
T91Freddie Jacobson172
T91Kelly Kraft172
T91Greg Chalmers172
T91Graeme McDowell172
T91James Hahn172
T91Kevin Kisner172
T91Lucas Glover172
T91Boo Weekley172
T91Brett Stegmaier172
T91Robert Garrigus172
T91Scott Brown172
T91Derek Fathauer172
T91Dominic Bozzelli172
T91Patton Kizzire172
T91John Peterson172
T91Davis Love III172
T91David Lingmerth172
T91John Senden172
T109Matthew Fitzpatrick273
T109J.J. Henry273
T109Charley Hoffman273
T109Geoff Ogilvy273
T109Daniel Summerhays273
T109Ricky Barnes273
T109Bryce Molder273
T109Trey Mullinax273
T109Bryson DeChambeau273
T118Rafael Cabrera Bello374
T118Matt Every374
T118Fabian Gomez374
T118Chez Reavie374
T118Michael Thompson374
T118Harris English374
T118Morgan Hoffmann374
T125Luke List475
T125Keegan Bradley475
T125Ken Duke475
T128Chad Collins576
T128Robert Streb576
130Jim Herman677
131Jin Cheng778
132Brooks Blackburn1081

Joel Cook

Joel Cook is Pro Golf Weekly's Lead Writer. He is a member of the Golf Writer's Association of America.



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