Australians Marc Leishman and Jason Day teamed up for a 16-under 56, coming up just one stroke shy of the event’s scramble scoring record, to take the first-round lead at the QBE Shootout in Naples, Fla.
Leishman and Day posted 12 birdies and two eagles without a bogey on the card for their 56 at Tiburon Golf Course.
Both eagles came not on putts, but on hole-outs by Leishman at the par-5 sixth and par-4 10th holes.
“The one on 6 I had a pretty good read off (Day),” Leishman said. “It was a very straightforward chip, but obviously it still takes a little bit of luck for it to actually go in the hole. And then the one on 10, the guys all hitting in front of me, it was on a little knoll I guess you’ll call it. (Day) was in there about 10 feet and had a chance to just go straight at it and went straight at it.”
The scramble record of 55 has been posted five times in the history of the tournament, an unofficial, three-round team event with a different scoring format each day.
In scramble, players pick their team’s best shot and each play a shot from that point. Saturday’s second round will be modified alternate shot, in which both players tee off and they alternate shots for the rest of each hole, and Sunday’s final round is traditional fourballs.
For now, Leishman and Day have a one-shot lead over two teams: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland and Corey Conners of Canada, and defending champs Matt Kuchar and Harris English.
Kuchar and English made 15 birdies for their 57. McDowell and Conners managed their only eagle of the day on the last hole, a par 5.
LPGA star Lexi Thompson is playing the event alongside Bubba Watson. Thompson and Watson had an eagle and 11 birdies on their way to a 13-under 59, good for a tie for fourth with Kevin Na and Jason Kokrak.
“It was an amazing day,” Thompson said. “I made a few birdies on the front and then he came through on the back, hitting on the drivable hole to about 10 feet and then making a 2 on his own ball. That’s all great with scramble and just working as a team. It was just a lot of fun. I enjoyed watching him play for the first time in person, so I’m looking forward to the next two days with him.”
–Field Level Media