“I was like, ‘We’ll see if I can judge right,’ and I ended up hitting him like this,” he said, holding his hands just over a foot apart. “Finishing it was pretty nice.”
Hoffman scored nine birdies in his round of 64.
Walker hasn’t had much to do since winning the 2016 PGA championship in Baltusrol. He had Lyme disease the following year which took its toll for more than that season, and has now made 88 PGA Tour appearances without winning from his main title.
More recently, he had tendonitis in his right elbow so bad it hurt to just remove a club from his bag. Walker got a good job at home in Texas last week, his physical therapist worked with him, and he relaxed during the practice that preceded the opening round.
“I’ve always had stuff with my left shoulder, but I just got tendonitis at the US Open,” Walker said. “I just didn’t have strength. But I rested a lot last week, played a few 9-hole rounds with some friends and I came this week and my physiotherapist beat us. And it feels better. “
The putter also felt better. After two brief mistakes, Walker realized he needed to move the ball slightly into his position. Then, he began pouring into a 15-foot, a 25-foot, and a 10-foot rescue par.
The last time he started a PGA Tour event with such a low round it was a 64 in May 2018 at AT&T Byron Nelson.
Michhel Gligic of Canada had a 65, while the group at 66 included another former PGA champion, Keegan Bradley, and Anirban Lahiri of India, who only entered this tournament by finishing in the top 10 last week in Punta Cana in the Republic. Dominican.
Lahiri gave himself a little extra motivation by booking a seat on the PGA Tour charter flight from the Caribbean, even though he wasn’t at Sanderson Farms yet. And then he had a 64-70 weekend to equalize for sixth place.
Sergio Garcia, who came out of the top 50 in the world for the first time since 2011, made his debut in the afternoon in the tournament, together with Henrik Stenson.
Defending champion Sebastian Munoz also played on Thursday afternoon.
Stewart Cink opened with a 69 in his first tournament since winning the Safeway Open three weeks ago with his son in the bag, Cink’s first win since winning the British Open at Turnberry in 2009.
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