Cole Hammer piled up nine birdies en route to an 8-under 64 to take the first-round lead at the RSM Classic on Thursday in St. Simons Island, Ga.
Hammer played his first round at Sea Island Golf Club’s Plantation Course and started on the back nine. He birdied nine of his first 16 holes to get to 9 under before a bogey at the par-5 eighth hole.
It was enough for a one-shot advantage over Ben Griffin, who took second with a 7-under 65.
“I mean, I was almost blacked out there for a little bit,” Hammer said of his career-low round. “It went by in a heartbeat, but at the same time was a long day.”
After starting with four birdies on the back nine, Hammer added birdies on Nos. 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7.
“I almost made a birdie putt on 18, my ninth hole today, to go 5 under. And then I hit my best drive of the day on No. 1, my 10th hole, and that swing gave me some confidence,” Hammer said. “I hit a wedge like 2 feet and knocked that in. Then made a 15-footer on the next hole for birdie, which was a complete bonus.”
The field is playing one of the first two rounds at the par-72 Plantation Course and one at the par-70 Seaside Course before the 36-hole cut. Saturday and Sunday will see players return to the Seaside Course.
Griffin shot a bogey-free card with seven birdies on the Plantation Course. He makes his home in town and is familiar with the local courses.
“It’s an easy commute. Should have walked,” Griffin said. “A couple stop lights held me back this morning.”
Beau Hossler and Englishman Callum Tarren shot the low rounds of the day at the Seaside Course at 6-under 64. They’re tied for third with Justin Suh, who had a 6-under 66 at the Plantation Course.
Eleven players were tied at 5 under, including Webb Simpson, who had a hole-in-one at the par-3 third on the Plantation Course during his round of 67.
“My target was about 15 feet right of the hole there, so I did pull it, but I did hit it good enough to where I knew it would cover on that line,” Simpson said. “And I do love my hybrids.”
–Field Level Media