2014 Quicken Loans National (The 33rd of 41 events in the PGA TOUR Season), Bethesda, Md.. June 23 – 29, 2014; FedExCup Points: 500 to the winner; Congressional Country Club, Par/Yardage: 36-35—71/7,569; Purse: $6,500,000 ($1,170,000) - First-Round Notes – Thursday, June 26, 2014
Greg Chalmers (pictured by Getty Images)
After starting on hole No. 10, Australia’s Greg Chalmers birdied his last three holes to take what is his third first-round lead on the PGA TOUR. He shared the 18-hole lead at the 2009 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee (finished T15), as well as after round one of the Valspar Championship earlier this year (finished T44).
In his 357th PGA TOUR start this week, Chalmers remains in search of his first career win on the PGA TOUR. Among two runner-up finishes was the 2000 Kemper Insurance Open, played around the corner from Congressional CC at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.
Chalmers is making his fifth consecutive start at the Quicken Loans National, where he has not performed well. He missed the cut in 2010, 2011 and 2013, and finished T17 in 2012.
Chalmers has not enjoyed a banner year, and comes into this week’s Quicken Loans National having missed the cut in four of his last six starts. His lone top-10 finish of the season came in his second start back in October at The McGladrey Classic.
Chalmers is looking to join Jason Day (World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship), John Senden (Valspar Championship), Steven Bowditch (Valero Texas Open), Matt Jones (Shell Houston Open) and Adam Scott (Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial) as players from Australia to win on the PGA TOUR this year.
Chalmers returns to the PGA TOUR this year, following his 97th-place finish in last year’s FedExCup standings.
First-Round Lead Information
Last year, Roberto Castro led by two strokes over three others after round one with 5-under 66.
The lowest 18-hole score at the Quicken Loans National is a 9-under 62, posted by Anthony Kim and Hunter Mahan in rounds one and four, respectively, in 2009. Most recently, Nick Watney posted the score in round three en route to his victory at Congressional CC in 2011.
K.J. Choi in 2007 is the only player to convert at least a share of the 18-hole lead into victory at the Quicken Loans National.
So far this year, only 7/31 leaders/co-leaders after 18 holes have converted for the win, most recently being Martin Kaymer at the U.S. Open.
Making his sixth consecutive start at the Quicken Loans National, Ricky Barnes’ 4-under 67 is his first sub-70 score in either of the first two rounds, and fourth overall (21 rounds). His previous best score is a 3-under 68 in the final round of 2010, which helped result in his best finish in the event of T16.
Barnes is making his 21st start of the 2013-14 PGA TOUR Season, with his lone top-10 finish being a T10 at the Puerto Rico Open in March. Barnes is coming off a T46 finish at last week’s Travelers Championship.
Barnes made a return trip to the PGA TOUR this season by virtue of his 33rd-place finish on last year’s Web.com Tour priority list.
In round one, Barnes hit 9/14 fairways (64.3 percent), but missed just two greens, Nos. 10 and 16 (88.2 percent). He needed 30 putts to complete his round.
Sweden’s Freddie Jacobson is making his fifth start at the Quicken Loans National this week. After opening with a 4-under 67 in 2010, he claimed his best finish of runner-up honors. Last year, Jacobson missed the cut at Congressional CC after rounds of 70-76.
Jacobson is making his 21st start of the 2013-14 PGA TOUR Season this week, and 252nd of his TOUR career. He is in search of his second TOUR title, after winning the 2011 Travelers Championship.
Jacobson has three top-10 finishes to his credit this season, most recently being T3 honors at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial last month.
Two weeks after making a household name for himself with his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open with Rickie Fowler, two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton ran off a string of four consecutive birdies on Nos. 6-9 en route to a 3-under 68.
Immediately following his finish at Pinehurst, Compton competed in last week’s Travelers Championship, where he missed the cut. Compton spent virtually all day Monday-Wednesday of last week involved with Donate Life America activities in the Hartford area.
Prior to his finish at the U.S. Open, Compton’s other top-5 finishes this year include T5s at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Compton remains in search of his first win on the PGA TOUR this week in his 102nd career start.
In his only other start at the Quicken Loans National, Patrick Reed finished T34 in 2013, following rounds of 76-64-74-71—285. His 64 in round two last year is one stroke shy of his career-low round.
Reed held the lead outright through 16 holes at 5-under, but finished with his only two bogeys of the day at Nos. 17 and 18, resulting in the 3-under finish.
Making his 19th start of the 2013-14 PGA TOUR Season, Reed has already claimed victories at the Humana Challenge and World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. Since his win at Doral, he has struggled and missed the cut in five of his ensuing eight starts.
In 25 rounds now since his win in Florida, he has broken par just three times. His 68 in round one at Congressional CC is his lowest score since posting a third consecutive, 9-under 63 in round three of the Humana Challenge.
The group of Tiger Woods, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth wasn’t able to mount much of a threat in the first round. Following bogeys at his first two holes of the day (Nos. 10 and 11), Woods added birdies at two of his last three (Nos. 7 and 8) en route to a 3-over 74. Jordan Spieth also shot 74, with Day coming in at 73.
Outside of the majors, Woods has opened with a score higher than 74 just seven times since turning pro; 1998 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola (75), 1998 BMW Championship (76), 1998 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (76), 2001 Travelers Championship (75), 2004 PLAYERS Championship (75), 2007 PLAYERS Championship (75) and 2014 World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship (76).
Woods made seven bogeys in the first round of the Quicken Loans National. The last time his card contained more glitches was in the third round of this year’s Farmers Insurance Open. Seven bogeys and two double bogeys resulted in a 7-over 79.
Woods’ 3-over 74 is his highest score in the tournament in 17 rounds. He opened with a 73 in 2010 and finished T46, his only finish outside the top-6 in four starts.
First-round scores from past Quicken Loans National champions in the field: Bill Haas/2013 (68), K.J. Choi/2007 (68), Nick Watney/2011 (69) Tiger Woods/2009, 2012 (74) and Justin Rose/2010 (74).
Open Championship Qualifying Series (OQS)
The Open Qualifying Series (OQS) is new international qualifying series involving events on the world’s leading golf tours. It is being introduced for The Open Championship which takes place at Royal Liverpool (Hoylake) July 13-20.
The Open Qualifying Series will comprise 14 events in nine countries on five continents and will offer players the opportunity to qualify for golf’s oldest major championship at events on the PGA TOUR, the European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Japan Golf Tour.
Players on the PGA TOUR have the chance to qualify at three events: this week’s Quicken Loans National, The Greenbrier Classic and John Deere Classic. The top four players, not previously eligible, that finish among the top 12 (and ties) at the Quicken Loans National and The Greenbrier Classic will earn entry into The Open Championship. The top player among the top five (and ties) at the John Deere Classic will also qualify.
After round one of the Quicken Loans National, here’s a look at the OQS leaderboard:
Greg Chalmers 66
Ricky Barnes 67
Freddie Jacobson 67
Erik Compton 68
In honor of its inaugural year as title sponsor of the Quicken Loans National, Quicken Loans will reward one lucky spectator $1 million if a player aces the 10th hole. An additional $25,000 will be donated to the charity of the player’s choice.
Following the Quicken Loans National, the company will continue its hole-in-one promotion by awarding a year’s worth of mortgage payments to a randomly selected entrant for each ace made during official PGA TOUR events in the 2014 calendar year. Throughout the sweepstakes, and regardless of how many hole-in-ones are made, Quicken Loans will also randomly select a total of 10 entrants per month, July through December, to receive a monthly mortgage payment on their home.
Morning scoring average: 71.90
Afternoon scoring average: 72.82
Congressional CC’s most-difficult hole in the first round was the par-4 11th, yielding an average of 4.425. The easiest hole was the par-5 sixth hole, averaging 4.608.
Scoring Averages at the par-71 Congressional Country Club:
Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative
R1: 36.192 36.167 72.358
Weather: Sunny and warm. High of 87 degrees. Winds WSW 7-12 mph.
Greg Chalmers 66 (-5)
Ricky Barnes 67 (-4)
Freddie Jacobson 67 (-4)
Source: PGA Tour