After a quick stop in Malaysia for the CIMB Classic, the PGA Tour took to South Korea for the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Here’s what you need to know from the first round.
1. Can Chez end the drought?
Chez Reavie grabbed the first-round lead with a four-under 68, hitting every fairway and 15 of 18 greens. The 36-year-old has just one PGA Tour victory, at the 2008 Canadian Open, but finished second twice in 28 starts last season. They came in back-to-back weeks at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Gary Woodland beat Reavie in a playoff in Phoenix.
2. Remember me?
Danny Willett and Si Woo Kim are tied for second and one off the lead. Both players had big-time wins in the past few years but have done little since. Kim won the 2017 Players Championship and moved to 28th in the World Ranking, but he hasn’t won since and has dropped to 57th in the OWGR. He found some success toward the end of last season, qualifying for the FedEx Cup Playoffs before bowing out before the Tour Championship.
Willett famously won the 2016 Masters, moving him to 9th in the World Ranking and all but anointing himself as the next big thing in golf, but has plummeted to 342nd in the World Ranking due to bad form and injuries.
3. Wind, wind, go away
Only 19 players broke par on Thursday as strong winds kept the field in check. Ian Poulter (70) is two off the lead, Brooks Koepka (71), Hideki Matsuyama (71) and Paul Casey (71) are three back and Pat Perez (72), Brandt Snedeker (72) and Jason Dufner (72) are four back. Justin Thomas opened with a 73 — he had two bogeys and a double bogey — and is five behind Reavie.
The CJ Cup is a no-cut event, so a lot can happen in the next 54 holes.