Wed, Dec 11, 2019

After one round of play at the 2019 RSM Classic, we have a fairly no-name leaderboard, except for one. While golf’s stars dominate across the pond in Dubai, Webb Simpson is the only noticeable figure stateside at Sea Island after he fired a 7-under 65 at the easier Plantation Course (the event is held on two courses).

We’ll take a look at some of the other players who joined him atop this board as we dive deep into the first round of the last PGA Tour event of 2019.

First place — Webb Simpson (-7): The only surprise here is that you’re surprised that it’s unsurprising he’s out in front. Simpson was the heavy 8-1 favorite to win coming into this week, and that’s dropped all the way to +250 after his first-round performance. The only nit to pick on this one is that it came on the easier of the two courses (to par anyway), and he’ll play the harder one on Friday.

Last place — Michael Kim (WD): He’s not in last because he withdrew, but I wanted an excuse to post this unbelievable string of finishes since Kim took the John Deere last season.

Other contenders — Cameron Tringale (-6), K.H. Lee (-6), Rhein Gibson (-6): There are also nine players at 5 under, two back of Simpson, including two who shot the same score as Simpson (more on that below). The biggest contender out of this entire group at 5 under and 6 under is … uh … Rory Sabbatini at 5 under?

The best story, however, is Scott Harrington, who is also 5 under. Harrington is 39 and this is just his 11th start on the PGA Tour as he grinded for decades to get here. He finished T2 at the Houston Open last month and has a real chance to make some hay for the FedEx Cup next August right now. His story is a great one as his wife Jennifer has battled cancer, and the couple has labored for years through adversity. Now this, on leaderboards at PGA Tour events. It’s an easy one to root for come the weekend.

Stat of the day: Here’s a fun one. Simpson did not shoot the lowest round of the day, and yet he leads. How is this possible? Well, Tringale and Lee both shot 64s, but the Seaside Course is a par 70, so they’re 6 under whereas Simpson’s 65 was 7 under because the Plantation Course is a par 72. Got all that? 

Shot of the day: Johnson Wagner made a 2 on a par 5, which means he has three (!) albatrosses since 1983, the most in the history of the PGA Tour (since they started keeping track).

Todd watch: After winning both the Bermuda Championship and last week’s Mayakoba Golf Classic, Brendon Todd is trying to do what only Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods have done this century and win three tournaments in a row on the PGA Tour. After Round 1, he’s 4 under and three back after playing the easier Seaside Course.

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