LA QUINTA, Calif. – As it turns out, Jon Rahm had an impact on the first-round leader board of the American Express after all.
Rahm, the No. 2 player in the world rankings, withdrew from the tournament Monday after injuring himself in the gym. His replacement in the field was Brandon Hagy, who plays an occasional round of golf with Rahm in the Phoenix area.
Hagy took full advantage of his late entry into the tournament at PGA West in La Quinta with an 8-under 64 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course, good for a one-shot lead at the end of the day over Byeong Hun An.
“I’ll have to say thank you,” Hagy said, with a smile, of his entry into the tournament because of Rahm’s withdrawal.
Back in the tournament where he shot his career-low round of 63 last year – a round he says he doesn’t remember – Hagy put together 10 birdies along with just two bogeys pn Thursday for his lowest round on tour in a year. Three of those birdies came on par-5s, a place where Hagy believes he can attack the PGA West courses.
“There are a lot of par-5s where I have an advantage, hitting irons with some height, keep it near the hole a little bit easier,” Hagy said. “I can take advantage, I know those holes are going to be a help for me.
An had seven birdies on the round but didn’t record a bogey in his 65. Si Woo Kim managed the best round of the day on the Pete Dye Stadium Course with a 6-under 66, to finish tied with Martin Laird and Max Homa, whose 66s came on the Nicklaus Tournament Course.
A group of nine players finished at 66, with only Doug Ghim and Charl Schwartzel shooting their rounds on the Stadium Course.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/01/21/brandon-hagy-american-express-golf-first-round/