After one round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic, hundreds of birdies haven’t yielded much separation. Here’s how things look at TPC Southwind, where Seamus Power is one shot clear on a tightly packed leaderboard:
Leaderboard: Seamus Power (-5), Phil Mickelson (-4), Brooks Koepka (-4), Steve Stricker (-4), Chris Kirk (-4), Wesley Bryan (-4)
What it means: Power was out among the early wave, and he put up a number that as it turned out no one was able to match. That didn’t come from a lack of effort, as 11 players turned in rounds of 66 and another 10 carded scores of 3-under 67. The Irishman enjoys a slim advantage as he looks to win for the first time in his career, while Mickelson headlines a group that remains in close pursuit after the opening round.
Round of the day: Power represented Ireland two years ago at the Olympics, but he has only three top-10s in 43 career PGA Tour starts. He may add to that haul after an opening round in Memphis that included six birdies against a lone bogey, with a 6-footer for birdie on No. 18 giving him an advantage over the field.
Best of the rest: Mickelson has become a staple at this event, and he hasn’t finished worse than T-11 over the last five years. Lefty appears in line for another strong result based on a round that was highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 third hole and included only one dropped shot, his eighth straight sub-par round in this event.
Full-field scores from the FedEx St. Jude Classic
FedEx St. Jude Classic: Articles, photos and videos
Biggest disappointment: Daniel Berger has won this event each of the last two years, but his chances for three in a row took a hit when he opened with even-par 70. Berger tallied five birdies, but he also included five bogeys with four of them coming over his first eight holes. He trails by five shots and will need a strong second round simply to make the cut.
Main storyline going into Friday: With a leaderboard this tight, the attention goes to the chase pack. Mickelson and Koepka headline the group at 4 under, with the latter preparing to defend his U.S. Open title next week in New York. World No. 2 Dustin Johnson lurks just two shots off the pace after an opening 67, while fellow major champ Henrik Stenson is just one shot further back.
Shot of the day: Johnson appeared headed for a bogey when his approach to No. 12 nearly rolled into the water, but the 2012 champ simply stuck one foot in the lake and chipped in, turning a possible bogey into the fourth of his five birdies on the day.
Quote of the day: “I mean, there’s nothing better than winning a golf tournament going into a major.” – Koepka