Mar 18, 2021
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Matt Jones’ opening round at the Honda Traditional used to be mighty.
He used to be remarkably unimpressed.
Jones tied the course file Thursday on a most frequently windy day at PGA National with a bogey-free 9-beneath 61 to mediate a 3-shot lead. He matched the designate build of living by Brian Harman within the 2nd round in 2012, and used to be a shot better than the final-round 62 that Tiger Woods posted that year.
“That is an unprecedented round of golf,” acknowledged Lee Westwood, who opened with an even-par 70. “Will be the round of the year, 61 around here, when it be flat serene, impressive. But when there would possibly per chance be a 15-, 20-mile-an-hour wind blowing, greens are like a flash, reasonably diverse crosswinds, that’s an unprecedented round of golf.”
All told, there had been roughly 6,000 match rounds at the Honda because it moved to PGA National in 2007. None used to be better than the one Thursday from Jones, an Australian ranked No. 83 on the planet.
He seemed most unfazed later on.
“I play golf for a living,” Jones acknowledged. “I mean, I have to be in a position to shoot a upright golf rating once in a while. It would no longer occur as mighty as I need. But certain, I’m very glad with it. I was very serene, I was very relaxed available. I’m on the total a bit more amped up and overvalued and I had a obvious fair this week, to be a bit more serene than on the total and stroll slower.”
It worked wonders.
He’s no longer into charting superlatives. He would no longer know the scheme many course info he holds, or how many holes-in-one he’s made. He wasn’t even mindful he had four consecutive birdies on the entrance 9 Thursday except he saw his card on a tall leaderboard as his round used to be ending.
“I was lawful managing the golf course and hitting upright pictures,” Jones acknowledged.
Russell Henley and Aaron Wise shot 64s, matching the supreme rating at the Honda by anybody — Jones excluded — since Rory McIlroy and Russell Knox had 63s in 2014. No one within the sphere final year shot better than a 66.
And Henley and Wise mute walked off the course 3 pictures support.
“That is an unprecedented round,” Wise acknowledged. “But I felt admire I performed one, too.”
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker, Scott Harrington, Kevin Chappell, Joseph Bramlett and Cameron Davis shot 66. Defending champion Sungjae Im opened with a 68.
Jones had the four consecutive birdies on Nos. 2-5, had others on the par-4 11th and par-4 13th, then completed with birdies on every of his final three holes and by no system dropped a shot despite the Honda’s traditional windy conditions.
Adam Hadwin, who performed in Jones’ crew, acknowledged “upright shot” more times than he would possibly per chance well per chance additionally count.
“I lawful stopped pronouncing it at a obvious point,” Hadwin acknowledged. “He lawful hit so many, you lawful live pronouncing it. You are lawful beneath the conclusion that it used to be upright.”
Jones has lawful one PGA Tour victory, that coming with a chip-in to purchase a playoff at the 2014 Houston Open. He hasn’t made the cleave in a indispensable since the 2016 Open Championship and has by no system completed better than tied for fourth at the Honda, doing that in his debut at the event in 2008.
“No matter Matt Jones is doing, I could per chance well per chance like to see it as a end result of 61 available is unprecedented,” acknowledged Shane Lowry, who shot 67 in his opening round. “That is lawful unprecedented.”
It used to be mute a befuddling day for a entire lot of. Graeme McDowell performed the “Undergo Entice” stretch — the par-3 15th, par-4 16th and par-3 17th — in 6 over, after making a quadruple bogey at 15 and a double bogey on 17. And Hunter Mahan had a six-hole stretch throughout which he made, in present, eagle, bogey, bogey, triple bogey, bogey, birdie.
Mahan completed at 77, McDowell at 79.
“Or no longer it is lawful so arduous, so tricky,” Lowry acknowledged. “There would possibly per chance be reasonably diverse catastrophe holes.”
Jones, a minimal of for at some point, refrained from all of them.
“It used to be a if fact be told upright day,” he acknowledged.
DIVOTS: Amongst notables, Zach Johnson used to be in a crew 6 pictures support after taking pictures 67, Rickie Fowler completed even par and Phil Mickelson shot a 1-over 71. … Sean O’Hair (80) withdrew after the round and James Hahn withdrew after 16 holes with a rib hurt. … Erik Compton, a South Florida native and two-time heart transplant recipient, completed at even par. Compton used to be a Monday qualifier this week. … That is the 15th time the Honda is being performed at PGA National. No first-round chief on this course has received the match; the final first-round chief to purchase the Honda used to be Justin Leonard in 2003 at Mirasol. … The old easiest first-round rating at the Honda used to be 62 by Tim Herron in 1996, at Eagle Label.