Tom Hodge pulled out two eagles to hit an 8-under 63, enough to lead by one stroke after round one at the Schreiners Children’s Open in Las Vegas on Thursday.
After a bogey-free day at TPC Summerlin, Hoge led Maverick McNealy and Korea’s Si-Woo Kim (7-under 64).
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Hoge started off slowly with a par 5 before making a birdie on the 6th hole. He then went off the 7th hole in a par 4 and holed out on the fairway 109 yards away.
“I tried to go all the way, but I hit about half the stick,” Hoge said.
“If I hit a pin, it seems like it can bounce anywhere.
“This guy came down and hit the left side of the hole and stayed right here.”
He made a 20-foot birdie putt on fringe 10 in the middle of his three-birdie spurt, and his second eagle of the day jumped to 8-under on the par 5 16th hole. He crossed a water hazard and reached the green on number two and sank 33 feet.
Hoge said he wasn’t sure how he would play this week after taking a few weeks off fishing.
“For the past few weeks we’ve been down to Mexico and down to Cabo and there we’ve been fishing a bit and putting the club a little farther,” he said.
“It’s been a little longer than usual, but it will be fresh for this last push at the end of the year.”
McNealy had no bogey at 30, catching 6 of 7 birdies at 9 out of 100.
“I call the other PGA Tour players in Vegas 13-16 Buddy Allies,” McNealy said.
“There will be a lot of opportunities at the end of the round.
“So when I went through the first eight (hole) under par, I thought the gas was on the right, so I flagged it and had a few putts left.”
Conversely, Kim started off the back nine but dropped 5 out of 8 birdies head-on.
Korean prospect Tom Kim hit a 6-under 65 without bogey. He tied for fourth with countryman and defending champions Sungjae Lim, Sam Ryder, Keith Mitchell, Will Gordon, Tyler Duncan and Thomas Detry of Belgium.
Prior to his first appearance in the Presidents Cup last month, Tom Kim made three birdies in all nine.
“It was actually a bit faster in the last nine holes because it was obviously a little dry,” he said.
“There wasn’t much morning dew anymore, so I think it’s better to putt on the back nine. And I think it’s definitely because the speed is somewhat consistent.”
The 20-year-old won the Wyndham Championship in August during a special exemption period and ultimately qualified for the full PGA Tour.
Im was only 3-under on 15 holes before making birdies on each of the last 3 holes. Australia’s Jason Day tied for first place with a 5-under 66. Patrick Cantlay and Max Homa tied the game at 4 under 67.
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