Finau sets early pace as Tiger returns at Memorial Tournament

World number one Rory McIlroy is four shots off the first round lead in Ohio

Tiger Woods of the United States walks with his caddie Joe LaCava during the first round of The Memorial Tournament. Photograph: Getty Images

Tiger Woods of the United States walks with his caddie Joe LaCava during the first round of The Memorial Tournament. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Tony Finau mixed three birdies and two bogeys in an uneven opening nine in Ohio, but finished strong to top the leaderboard with a round of 66.

The American leads by one shot after the first round of the Memorial Tournament in Dublin on six under and was helped by picking up shots on seven of the last 10 holes.

“I made a lot of putts. I honestly didn’t feel I hit it great off the tee. I didn’t hit a lot of fairways,” explained Finau. “But I felt great out there. It was playing really tough but I was able to execute pretty well.”

Ryan Palmer is the best of the rest, his bogey-free round 67 good enough for second ahead of Brendan Steele and Gary Woodland who are tied for third on four under.

A lot of the day’s attention was on Tiger Woods, who was playing his first Tour event for five months and he carded a one-under 71 for a share of 18th with Phil Casey and Vijay Singh among others.

Jordan Speith and Ireland’s Rory McIlroy are both tied for eighth on two under after their rounds of 70, Justin Thomas toiled to a 74, Bryson DeChambeau hit a one-over 73 and Brooks Koepka scored a par 72.

With fans not permitted at the tournament to mitigate the potential spread of Covid-19, Woods acknowledged it was “new reality” for the players. “There were still a lot of moving carts and a lot of media that were moving around, but the energy wasn’t the same without the fans,” he said.

“I don’t have the marshaling and the crowds and people moving. Certainly it’s a different feel, one that’s a new reality.”

Woods started the day strong at Muirfield Village with birdies on the first and third, but windy conditions proved a challenge as the 44-year-old knocked the rust off his game. “I was very pleased the way I drove it, my feel for my irons. I just didn’t quite hit the putts hard enough, Most of my putts were dying, didn’t quite have enough oomph to it.”

British Open champion Shane Lowry is one over par after bogeying two of his final three holes, while Graeme McDowell hit back to back double bogeys on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes during a seven over par first round.

First round scores in the USPGA Tour the Memorial Tournament (USA unless stated, par 72):

66 Tony Finau

67 Ryan Palmer

68 Brendan Steele, Gary Woodland

69 Lucas Glover, Jon Rahm (Spa), Charles Howell III

70 Luke List, Mark Hubbard, Patrick Cantlay, Harris English, Max Homa, Rory McIlroy (Irl), Jimmy Walker, Patrick Rodgers, Ryan Moore, Jordan Spieth

71 Vijay Singh (Fij), Tiger Woods, Scottie Scheffler, Byeong-Hun An (Kor), Paul Casey (Eng), Chez Reavie, Patrick Reed

72 Matt Wallace (Eng), Wyndham Clark, Xinjun Zhang (Chn), Marc Leishman (Aus), Ernie Els (Rsa), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa), Jason Dufner, Scott Piercy, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Lanto Griffin, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Abraham Ancer (Mex), Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia (Spa), Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai), Carl Pettersson (Swe)

73 Sepp Straka (Aut), Si Woo Kim (Kor), Daniel Berger, Justin Rose (Eng), Shane Lowry (Irl), Bryson DeChambeau, Corey Conners (Can), Jason Day (Aus), Steve Stricker, Rory Sabbatini (Svk), Alex Noren (Swe), Stewart Cink, Keegan Bradley, Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Adam Long, Jim Herman, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa)

74 Carlos Ortiz (Mex), Matthew NeSmith, Viktor Hovland (Nor), Branden Grace (Rsa), Danny Willett (Eng), Jason Scrivener (Aus), Justin Thomas, Nick Taylor (Can), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa), Kevin Kisner, Henrik Norlander (Swe), Sung Kang (Kor), Brian Harman, Matthias Schwab (Aut), Kevin Na, Haotong Li (Chn), Cameron Smith (Aus), Harry Higgs, Scott Harrington, Mackenzie Hughes (Can), Keith Mitchell

75 Bud Cauley, Brian Stuard, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Cameron Champ, Bo Hoag, Kevin Streelman, Joel Dahmen, Denny McCarthy, Brendon Todd, Sebastian Munoz (Col), Tyler Duncan, Troy Merritt, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng)

76 JT Poston, Andrew Putnam, Zach Johnson, Vaughn Taylor, Adam Hadwin (Can), Matt Kuchar, William McGirt, Webb Simpson, Tom Hoge, Doc Redman, Ian Poulter (Eng), Collin Morikawa, Billy Horschel, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa), Zac Blair

77 Peter Kuest, Matthew Wolff, Harold Varner III, Victor Perez (Fra), (a) Andy Ogletree

78 Talor Gooch, Xander Schauffele, Kevin Tway, Bubba Watson, Sungjae Im (Kor)

79 Jazz Janewattananond (Tha), Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Jason Kokrak, Graeme McDowell (Irl), Andrew Landry, Kyung Ju Choi (Kor)

80 Danny Lee (Nzl), Dustin Johnson

81 Maverick McNealy, Rickie Fowler

82 David Lingmerth (Swe)

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