RALEIGH, N.C. – Canadian Ryan Yip was the early 2016 Rex Hospital Open clubhouse leader after carding a seven-under par 64 early on Thursday.
Brady Schnell, Chase Marinell, and Grayson Murray all finished two strokes behind with matching 66’s to lead the morning group in opening-round play at TPC Wakefield Plantation.
Teeing off in the afternoon, defending champion Kyle Thompson, course record-holder Seamus Power, and Brad Fritsch, number two on Web.com Tour money list, along with the remainder of the field took to the tee box ready to keep pace.
What they said – Clubhouse leaders – Thurs. – 3:00 p.m.
Ryan Yip – 64 (8 birdies, 1 bogey)
Off to his best start of the season, Yip said he caught fire after struggling to hit the fairway early on. He birdied five of his last six holes through the opening nine. He added two more birdies on the back nine before evening out a bogey on 17 with an birdie on his final hole of the day.
“I started hitting it well off the tee,” Yip said.
“I tried to keep it together and all-of-a-sudden I started hitten’ the fairways, hittin’ it close, and makin’ putts. It worked out pretty well…The key is your lag putts because the greens are very quick out there. Luckily I made a lot of five, six-footers for par. My lag putting wasn’t great, but I made those putts for par.”
Brady Schnell – 66 (7 birdies, 2 bogeys)
Starting the day early on, visibility was an issue according to Schnell.
However, that didn’t impact his game enough to keep him from coming in as the early leader.
“Yeah, the first hole was a beast with the fog, hit hybrid in there, but been working on a few things and came together a little bit,” Schnell said.
“The course is soft, the green is pure, and hit some good shots and rolled a few in, so nice way to start.”
Chase Marinell – 66 (7 birdies, 2 bogeys)
Having caught some kind of bug coming into the round, Marinell managed to put together one of his best rounds this season and taught himself a valuable lesson about tournament preparation.
On Tuesday, he said he had a fever of 103 degrees, but said he was a “pretty tough kid” and ground it out.
“I didn’t do a whole lot of practicing,” Marinell said regarding his illness.
Come Thursday, all was well enough as he posted four birdies on his back nine at 10, 11, 13, and 18 to keep pace with Schnell.
However, the round didn’t come without some purging as he fell ill on the fairway of the par-4, 417-yard 11th, but still managed to post his fifth birdie of the day.
“It just goes to show you that you just need to keep the practice rounds simple, save energy, and who knows what happens to you on Thursday,” Marinell concluded.
“If you just keep it simple and go out and play the holes that you need to play, learn about the course, and save all the energy you can for the tournament. That’s the lesson I learned this week – It was a blessing in disguise.”
Grayson Murray – 66 (6 birdies, 1 bogey)
Playing on what is considered his home course, the Web.com rookie Murray, who was the second-youngest to make the cut at a PGA event as a 16-year old amateur at the 2010 Rex Open, played his round as he planned it.
According to him, his only hiccup came on the 454-yard, par-four 14th on a round that included five birdies on his front nine before finishing his round with a birdie following eight straight pars.
“It’s obviously nice, being my home track, I feel comfortable with the tee shots and everything,” Murray said.
“I hit the clubs off the tee with what my game plan was, according to the wind and the softness of the fairways.”