Mon, 11 Dec 2023

Two eagles propel Tom Hoge into lead at Shriners

Field Level Media
07 Oct 2022, 11:40 GMT+10

Tom Hoge drained two eagles to fire 8-under-par 63 Thursday, enough for a one-shot lead after one round of the Shriners Children's Open in Las Vegas.

After his bogey-free day at TPC Summerlin, Hoge led Maverick McNealy and South Korea's Si Woo Kim, who were at 7-under 64.

Hoge started slow with five pars before a birdie at No. 6. Then came the par-4 seventh, where he holed out from the fairway 109 yards away.

"I was going right at it the whole way, but I hit it about halfway up the stick," Hoge said. "You hit the pin, it can bounce anywhere, it seems like. This one came down and hit the left side of the hole and stayed right in there."

He made a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe at No. 10, the middle of a three-birdie spurt, before his second eagle of the day at the par-5 16th vaulted him to 8 under. He reached the green in two over a water hazard and sank a 33-footer.

Hoge said he wasn't sure how he'd play this week after taking a few weeks' vacation.

"Last couple weeks we went down to Mexico, down to Cabo, did a little fishing down there and kind of put the clubs away a little bit," he said. "It was a bit longer of a break than I'd normally take, but I'll be fresh for this last push at the end of the year."

McNealy also stayed bogey-free. He made six of his seven birdies on the back nine for a 30.

"The other PGA Tour players out here that live in Vegas, we call 13 through 16 Birdies Alley," McNealy said. "You know you're going to have a lot of opportunities at the end of the round. So when I got through the first eight (holes) under par, I figured gas is on the right and hit it at the flag, and I got some putts to go."

Conversely, Kim started on the back nine but got five of his eight birdies to fall on the front.

Up-and-comer Tom Kim from South Korea shot a bogey-free, 6-under 65. He was tied for fourth with countryman and defending champion Sungjae Im, Sam Ryder, Keith Mitchell, Will Gordon, Tyler Duncan and Belgium's Thomas Detry.

Tom Kim, who is coming off his first Presidents Cup appearance last month, made three birdies apiece on both nines.

"It did actually get faster on our final nine holes because obviously it kind of dried out a bit," he said. "There wasn't a lot of morning dew anymore. So I think I had a better putting round on the back nine, and I think that's because obviously the speed was kind of matching up."

The 20-year-old won the Wyndham Championship in August while on a special exemption and ultimately gained full PGA Tour status.

Im was just 3 under through 15 holes before birdieing each of his last three.

Jason Day of Australia was among those tied at 5-under 66. Patrick Cantlay and Max Homa were part of a large tie at 4-under 67.

--Field Level Media

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