Accuracy off tee drives Lingmerth to top of PGA National leaderboard

David Lingmerth hitting out of the rough at the ninth. He made bogey, one of two in his first round at the PGA National.
David Lingmerth hitting out of the rough at the ninth. He made bogey, one of two in his first round at the PGA National.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

WASHINGTON • David Lingmerth, buoyed by happy memories of the TPC Potomac, fired a five-under 65 to claim a one-stroke lead after Thursday's opening round of the Quicken Loans National.

He won a Web.com Tour event in 2012 on the tight Maryland layout near Washington D.C. and again relied on his accuracy off the tee. The Swede, without a top-10 finish on Tour this season in 17 events, missed two fairways as he carded seven birdies and two bogeys.

"That's one of the main keys out here," he said.

"It's a course where the rough is very penalising, very gnarly. You really got to stay in the fairway to have a chance to make birdies."

He added that it was a happy return.

"Obviously, coming here is going to give me great feelings knowing I have won here on the Web," he said. "It seems to suit my eye really well."

Six players were bunched one shot back, including Australian Marc Leishman, Canadian Nick Taylor, South Korean Sung Kang and Americans Troy Merritt, Johnson Wagner and Daniel Summerhays.

The par-70 layout, hosting its first PGA event since 2006, was formidable, with Players Championship winner Kim Si Woo of South Korea shooting 79 a day after his 22nd birthday and defending champion Billy Hurley on 73.

Lingmerth started at the 10th and ran off three birdies in a row from No. 13, capping the string with an 18-foot birdie putt at the 15th.

He knocked his approach inside four feet at No. 18 for another birdie and made the turn at four-under 31.

He added birdies at the first and fourth, where he rolled in a 20-footer from the fringe, before making bogey at the last after an errant tee shot at the par-three ninth.

Thirty-one players broke par but two of the top names in the field were not among them.

Rickie Fowler posted a 70, while this season's three-time winner Justin Thomas suffered a nightmare round.

He made five birdies but signed for a four-over 74, fuelled by a quadruple bogey nine at the par-five 10th.

He pulled his tee shot left into heavy native scrub land beyond the thick rough. He failed twice to advance the ball and finally took a penalty stroke and dropped a ball, which he sent across the fairway into more trouble.

He was tied for 93rd, nine strokes off the pace. REUTERS,

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2017, with the headline 'Accuracy off tee drives Lingmerth to top of PGA National leaderboard'. Print Edition | Subscribe