DETROIT (AP) — Doc Redman took a step toward remaining among those to make the cut in every event since the PGA Tour resumed, opening with a 7-under 65 to share the early lead Thursday in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Redman closed with four straight birdies and seven over the last eight holes. Scott Stallings birdied his last two holes. They had a one-shot lead among early starters over Peter Malnati, Emiliano Grillo and Chase Seiffert.
Rickie Fowler, who has missed the cut in the two tournaments he has played since the restart, was among those at 67.
Redman went from being a Monday qualifier last year at the Detroit Golf Club to finishing second at the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic. He is hoping to take the next step on Sunday with his first PGA Tour victory.
Bryson DeChambeau, who was among the players with afternoon tee times, joins Redman, Lucas Glover, Tyler Duncan, Viktor Hovland, Mark Hubbard and Brian Stuard who have made the cut in all three events since the PGA Tour returned from the COVID-19 shutdown.
At last week’s Travelers Championship, Redman closed with a 63 to tie for 11th — his best performance this season — after tying for 21st the RBC Heritage.
“I’ve come off two good finishes and a really good finish last year at this event, which has never really happened to me,” he said. “So I’ve never had this kind of expectation externally or even internally.”
Stallings started with a birdie-bogey-birdie stretch and had six birdies the rest of the round, continuing his solid play from last week, when he finished tied for sixth.
On a quiet morning at the fan-free tournament in which the hum of generators was the only sound, a slew of players took advantage of favorable playing conditions and one of the easier courses on the PGA Tour.
And when their rounds were complete, players took off their caps and extended fists without coming close enough to make contact with one another.
Fowler started with a birdie on his first hole and four on his first six. He pulled within a stroke of the lead when he was standing on his ninth tee and got into trouble in the rough, which appears to be longer than it was last year in the Motor City, and ended up with a double bogey at the par-4, 465-yard 18th.
“There was probably, I don’t know, 8 inches of grass there,” Fowler said. “I thought it was going to kind of just pop up when I hit it and it kind of came out low and left.”
After making the turn and briefly falling four shots back, Fowler had three straight birdies and closed the opening round with five consecutive pars to push him back toward the top of the leaderboard.
Defending champion Nate Lashley, who had a wire-to-wire win at the Detroit Golf Club last year, opened with a birdie before hurting his chance to repeat with three bogeys and three birdies the rest of the round.
Lashley landed in a greenside bunker and holed out from 45 feet on his final hole to escape with a much-needed birdie, but just a few people clapped and several others simply stood silently.
“With no fans out here, it almost feels like it’s not a golf tournament,” Lashley said. “I need to maybe get some nerves for (Friday) and get a little adrenaline going.”