Bubble watch, a pga tour record and more 2023 butterfield bermuda championship first-round takeaways, share this article.
On a day when the weather was near perfect in Southampton, Bermuda, plenty of players took advantage.
The first round of the 2023 Butterfield Bermuda Championship has come and gone, and there were no shortage of players to take advantage of favorable scoring conditions Thursday at Port Royal Golf Club. And with everything on the line on the island in the North Atlantic Ocean, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see the leaderboard as packed as it is at the top.
In addition to the low scores, there was a PGA Tour record broken in the first round.
The first round was suspended due to darkness at 4:31 p.m. ET.
Here’s everything you need to know from the first round of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.
Alex Noren fires career-low round
Alex Noren of Sweden hits a tee shot on the ninth hole during the first round of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course on November 09, 2023 in Southampton, Bermuda. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
It’s hard to find any issues with how Alex Noren played Thursday morning.
Eleven birdies, one bogey and six pars later, Noren cruised to a 10-under 61 opening round score, which set a new career-low round on the PGA Tour.
Noren owns a two-shot lead over a big pack at 8 under, including Vince Whaley and Robert Garrigus.
Adam Long breaks 31-year-old PGA Tour record
Adam Long hits a tee shot on the sixth hole during the final round of the World Wide Technology Championship at El Cardonal at Diamante on November 05, 2023 in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Adam Long set a new PGA Tour record on Thursday morning in the opening round.
Long hit his 60th straight fairway when he found the short grass on his second hole, a par-5, after going 56-for-56 last week at the World Wide Technology Championship, breaking Brian Claar’s record of 59 straight fairways hit, set in 1992. His streak went back to his final two holes at the Shriners Children’s Open.
He did finally miss a fairway on his back nine, hitting 12 of 14 on the day, but the record is now his at 69 straight fairways.
Checking in on the 15-year-old
Oliver Betschart of Bermuda hits a tee shot on the tenth hole during the first round of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course on November 09, 2023 in Southampton, Bermuda. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Most 15-year-olds went to school on Thursday before going home and doing homework or playing video games with friends.
Not Oliver Betschart .
The Bermuda native qualified for the tournament and is the youngest person to tee it up on the PGA Tour since 2014.
In the opening round, he was 1 over through 15 holes when the horn blew to conclude play for the day. In his round, he has three birdies, two bogeys and a double. He is on the par-5 seventh hole when play resumes.
Strong start for U.S. Amateur champ
Nick Dunlap of the United States lines up a putt on the eighth green during the first round of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course on November 09, 2023 in Southampton, Bermuda. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)
The final pairing off the first tee during Thursday’s opening round featured a glimpse at the game’s future.
First is Sam Bennett, the recent Texas A&M grad who won the 2022 U.S. Amateur. Then there’s Fred Biondi, the 2023 NCAA individual champion from Florida who turned professional this summer. Then there’s Nick Dunlap, the best amateur in golf this summer who won the 2023 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club outside of Denver.
And for Dunlap, a sophomore at Alabama, he got off to a hot start.
Dunlap was on his 17th hole when the horn went off. He was 3 under through 16. The 17th, a par 5, is playing as the easiest hole in the first round.
Austin Smotherman of the United States waits to putt on the eighth green during the first round of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course on November 09, 2023 in Southampton, Bermuda. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)
With the Butterfield Bermuda Championship being the penultimate event on the schedule, there are plenty of players looking to secure their cards for next year.
After the first round, Austin Smotherman has moved inside the FedEx Cup top 125. He entered the week at 130 and is projected at 124 after 18 holes of play. Smotherman shot 7-under 64 on Thursday.
Matti Schmid entered at 148 and also shot 7 under, and he is projected at 132. Both players sit T-6.
Ryan Moore shot 6 under and entered the week at 140. He’s projected at 133.
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Nov 9 - 13 , 2023
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2023 Tour Championship leaderboard: Collin Morikawa rockets into three-way tie on top with career-best 61
Morikawa's incredible round pushed him into a tie with keegan bradley and viktor hovland ahead of scottie scheffler.
The first round of the 2023 Tour Championship had enough twists and turns that it already looks quite different than when it started. Three different golfers caught and surpassed a surprisingly mediocre Scottie Scheffler, and after building an early lead based on all his work leading up to the Tour Championship, Scheffler now finds himself down one going into Friday's second round of the 2023 FedEx Cup Playoffs final.
Though the scores are close enough right now, it's still going to be extremely difficult for anyone to beat Scheffler on Sunday. Morikawa shot the best PGA Tour score of his career -- a 61 with an eagle -- and yet he's still just one up after 18 holes. What he did is completely unsustainable, and Scheffler is unlikely to lose two strokes to the field over the next three rounds.
Joining Morikawa (-10) on top are Keegan Bradley, who similarly impressed with a 63, and Viktor Hovland, who shot a 68. All three played bogey free golf as Scheffler made three bogeys and a triple on the day.
So, it's gotten a bit interesting for some of the presumed favorites. (We'll get to Rory McIlroy and his strange day in a moment). First, let's take at Thursday's first round for the leaders and what to expect the rest of the week.
T1. Viktor Hovland, Keegan Bradley Collin Morikawa (-10)
Morikawa made 11 threes the round after Viktor Hovland made 12 to win the BMW Championship last Sunday. Take that into consideration if you're wondering whether to be excited about the Ryder Cup in a month. The two now co-lead a tournament that will award $18 million to its winner. The two-time major champion led the field from tee to green and on approach shots and he was top seven in the field in every other category. That's ... probably going to get it done.
The question now is whether Morikawa can get it done in a PGA Tour event for the first time since the 2021 Open Championship at Royal St. George's. He poke afterward about how -- even though his numbers this year have been good -- you don't win tournaments only by putting up good numbers.
"It's kind of surprising that my strokes gained is that good [this year]," said Morikawa. "It shows that I've been working on the right things. But it takes ... there's a skill that you just can't measure for winning. You ask the best winners in the history, there's a skill that you just can't tell someone how to win, you can't teach someone how to win, you got to learn how to win. It's still in there. I know it is. It's just having things go your way and being consistent like today, not giving away shots, not hitting the poor shot that might deter a round, not making a bogey or two here today."
Hovland is probably the guy to watch here given where he started (-8) and how much Morikawa (started seven back of Hovland) and Bradley (started five back of Hovland) must do over the course of 72 hole to remain in front. Last week's BMW Championship winner is in the driver's seat.
One interesting sidebar here: Bradley is potentially playing for a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. He's been vocal and adamant about making that happen, and now he has a pretty compelling opportunity.
4. Scottie Scheffler (-9) T5. Adam Schenk, Russell Henley (-8) T7. Matt Fitzpatrick, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy (-7)
It was a strange round for Scheffler. It looked early like he might run away from the rest of the field as he -- at one point -- built a five-stroke lead. But late bogeys and a disastrous triple at the tough par-3 15th bumped him from that top spot.
What's kind of incredible: Even though he lost 1.5 strokes by hitting it in the water on the 15th alone, he was still in the top half of the field from tee to green and last in putting. The next three days are going to be extremely interesting on the putting front.
If -- and this is a big if -- he can not look at the actual leaderboard with starting strokes and simply focus on recovering the shots he lost Thursday over the next 54 holes, it's fair to suspect he will still probably win the tournament come Sunday.
Golf Channel's Todd Lewis reported before the round that McIlroy injured his back earlier in the week and had not played a practice round leading into the day. He hit balls for a bit on the range, but the result was not pretty. McIlroy, who has won the FedEx Cup three times in his career -- including in 2022 -- then stepped to the first tee and touched over 180 miles per hour ball speed with driver so it didn't seem like a massive problem.
However, he was clearly bothered by it throughout the day, often stopping to stretch it out, wincing and letting go of the club more often than a dialed-in Hideki Matsuyama. The result was a disappointing (albeit somewhat miraculous) 70. All in all, this was not a terrible result for McIlroy, who at times looked like he could have shot 80. He stays at 7 under, remains three back and is playing a golf course he rules. If he can get his back into a place where it feels normal, he's still very much in the mix.
Rick Gehman and Kyle Porter break down the first round of the Tour Championship at East Lake. It's storylines, scorecards and betting favorites from the finale of the FedEx Cup. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify .
2023 Tour Championship updated odds, picks
- Scottie Scheffler: 3-1
- Viktor Hovland: 7/2
- Collin Morikawa: 11/2
- Rory McIlroy: 13/2
- Jon Rahm: 12-1
- Keegan Bradley: 14-1
I would sprinkle on both Scheffler and Hovland here. They are your two most likely winners, even if it does not feel great after 18 holes of play. Both have good perspective on the arc of a tournament, and neither will be rattled by being caught (and in Scheffler's case, surpassed) by hot rounds from Morikawa or Bradley. I believe one of Scheffler or Hovland will win the Tour Championship.
He's already 3 under through six holes, six clear of everyone but Hovland (who he's five clear of) and probably en route to a victory. In other words, a show.
Rory McIlroy Struggling
McIlroy is having some apparent back issues early and did not play a hole this week at East Lake. He's +1 through two holes and now five back of Scheffler at the top. Also, Collin Morikawa is tied with him at -6.
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What channel is the PGA Championship on? How to watch the 2022 PGA at Southern Hills
Find out exactly where to watch the 2022 PGA Championship on TV below.
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The 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills has arrived, with the best players in the men’s game teeing off for the second major of the year on Thursday. But what channel is the PGA Championship on? Here’s everything you need to know to watch the action on TV.
What channel is the PGA on?
This year’s PGA Championship will be televised by two familiar TV channels: CBS and ESPN . CBS will broadcast their traditional third and final round coverage on Saturday and Sunday, including the crowing of a new PGA champion Sunday evening.
ESPN, on the other hand, will be the place to go to watch the early rounds of the PGA on TV. ESPN’s coverage includes six-hour telecasts of the first and second rounds on Thursday and Friday, as well as early coverage of the third and final rounds on Saturday and Sunday.
For viewers who prefer to stream the action online, ESPN+ will offer wall-to-wall coverage all week long.
Ready to watch Tiger Woods , Rory McIlroy , Scottie Scheffler , Jordan Spieth and more duke it out for the Wanamaker trophy? Check out the full TV schedule for the week below.
2022 PGA Championship TV schedule (ET)
Thursday, May 19: 2-8 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, May 20: 2-8 p.m. (ESPN) Saturday, May 21: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (ESPN); 1-7 p.m. (CBS) Sunday, May 22: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (ESPN); 1-7 p.m. (CBS)
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Angel Cabrera, fresh out of prison, plans PGA Tour comeback, ‘learned his lesson’
Cabrera is ready to start a new chapter on the PGA Tour Champions after serving time in prison for nearly three years.
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Share All sharing options for: Angel Cabrera, fresh out of prison, plans PGA Tour comeback, ‘learned his lesson’
Angel Cabrera, a former Masters champion, got out of prison on Aug. 4 after serving a 30-month sentence in Brazil and Argentina. Now, he is back on the golf course in his home country, gearing up for a possible return.
He last played a competitive round in 2020 at the Champions Tour’s Pure Insurance Open. But that burning desire to play competitive golf still burns.
“He wants to play, he’s learned his lesson, he wants to get on with his life. I think he’s in a great frame of mind for what he’s been through,” Cabrera’s friend Charlie Epps told Golfweek . “He’s got to go through the mechanics of getting his Visa back and then approach the PGA Tour, and I think it’s going to end up being good.”
Cabrera recently shot under par in his last five rounds with Epps at his home course in Córdoba, Argentina.
The 54-year-old spent more than two years behind bars over gender violence cases against two ex-girlfriends. He was arrested in Jan. 2021 by the Brazilian federal police and was sentenced in July 2021 to two years in prison. That charge was for the threats and harassment of Cecilia Torres Mana, one of his partners, between 2016 and 2018.
Following that case, Cabrera went on trial for similar charges, but this time, it came from ex-girlfriend Micaela Escudero in Nov. 2022. The 2007 U.S. Open Champion pleaded guilty, and the court issued concurrent sentences for his 2021 charges to imprison him for three years and 10 months.
However, Cabrera only served a little over two years before getting paroled.
His friend suggested that Cabrera still has plans to play professional golf.
Cabrera must apply for reinstatement to the PGA Tour Champions, who have allegedly suspended him. The 2009 Masters champion will also contact Augusta National to see if it will honor his lifetime invitation as a past winner.
“The way Angel plays on hard courses, I think he can still win the U.S. Senior Open,” Epps said. “I want him to be the comeback player of the year.”
Will Cabrera be allowed back on tour, or will his crimes prevent him from making a comeback?
He has lost weight and is in good spirits since being granted parole. A timeline on when he will return to professional golf is unsure, but the Argentinian golfer eager to make that happen.
Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.
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