By Peter Koutroumpis
RALEIGH, N.C. – If you were looking for some local flavor during opening-round play at the 2018 Rex Hospital Open, you had to also add some international spice to the mix.
Colombian Sebastian Muñoz and Canadian Roger Sloan carded rounds of 7-under 64 on the layout at TPC Wakefield Plantation on Thursday.
First-round play ended with 13 international players dotting the top 25 heading into an early second-round start on Friday.
“I feel like the changes I made in the offseason on my swing and my putting are definitely kicking in,” Muñoz said.
“I know I’m hitting it really good now. I just have to keep trusting it and keep doing it.”
“We hit a lot of good shots off the tee today,” Sloan noted of his round.
“Hit a lot of good iron shots and made a couple of good putts. It was pretty simple, nothing great, but we did everything really well.”
Notables: First-round finishes of players with local ties (Even or better): Ben Kohles (T16, -4), Wes Roach (T32, -3), Albin Choi (T32, -3), Carter Jenkins (T100, E)…Matt Fast recorded his first competition hole-in-one using an 8-iron from 167 yards on the par-3 16th. The ace was the 22nd in tournament history, and the first since Bhavik Patel’s in 2016…Former Rex Hospital Open champion Byron Smith (2014) is in the field this week, despite being practically retired from professional golf. The four-time Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada winner opened play with a 4-under 67. In addition to Campbell rising senior Ray Kraivixien, the other amateur in the field is rising Wake Forest sophomore Parker Gillam. He earned a spot in the field after advancing through a playoff during the Monday qualifier. Both Kraivixien and Gillam posted identical scores of 1-over 72 (T120).
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport