Patrick Cantlay shares first-round lead at American Express
Reigning FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay and PGA Tour rookie Lee Hodges shot matching rounds of 10-under-par 62 on Thursday to share the first-round lead at The American Express in La Quinta, Calif.
The pair are two strokes ahead of Cameron Young and South Korea’s K.H. Lee.
Golfers at The American Express will play one round at three different courses — La Quinta Country Club, the PGA West Stadium Course and the PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course — before the final round returns to the Stadium Course following a 54-hole cut.
Cantlay and Hodges both took advantage of the scoring conditions at La Quinta Country Club. Cantlay played his first nine holes in 29, while Hodges finished the same stretch in 29 after starting his round on the back nine.
Hodges eagled the par-5 fifth hole, while Cantlay made an eagle putt at the par-5 sixth. Neither player carded a bogey Thursday.
“This golf course, definitely every hole is a birdie hole, especially if you drive it in the fairway,” Cantlay said, “and like I said, it’s in such good shape that if you start to read the greens really well, it’s easy to make a bunch.”
Hodges’ 62 marked his career low round in his 14th Tour start. The 26-year-old turned pro in 2018 and is searching for the first top-10 finish of his career.
“I was playing great last week, leading up to last week in Hawaii I was playing some of my best golf I played in a long time,” Hodges said. “And then just kind of didn’t play well in the tournament. Here, there, you can say what you want, but I knew that my game was there to play really well, so just got to try to change a little bit of my attitude. I think that was a big help.”
Young shot his 8-under 64 at La Quinta, while Lee’s 64 came at the Stadium Course, known as the most challenging of the three courses.
An eight-way tie for fifth at 7-under 65 included Brandt Snedeker (La Quinta), Irish up-and-comer Seamus Power (Nicklaus Tournament) and New Zealand’s Danny Lee (Nicklaus Tournament).
World No. 1 Jon Rahm of Spain posted a 6-under 66 at La Quinta. Rahm, who won the event in the Southern California desert in 2018, went bogey-free with six birdies, four of them on the back nine.
“My swing didn’t feel 100 percent, but I kind of adjusted a little bit and I played some good golf,” Rahm said. “Hopefully I can tidy up a couple putts. My first few holes I didn’t hit the best putts, but then starting on I think it was on 8 or 9, I started rolling the ball better and it showed, made a couple clutch putts on the back nine.”
Rahm was in a massive tie at 6 under that included fellow major champions Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland and Lucas Glover, both of whom also played La Quinta on Thursday.
Phil Mickelson shot a 6-over 78 at La Quinta, tying him for last through one round.
–Field Level Media