Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

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Schenk signs blemish-free 69 in R1 of Honda 02-22-2018
Adam Schenk
Adam Schenk handed in one (of just two) bogey-free rounds today, styling a 1-under-par 34-35=69 during day one of The Honda Classic, placing him three off the early pace set by Alex Noren and Webb Simpson. The PGA TOUR rookie battled with windy conditions today but may have gotten the tiniest of advantages today. The wind the seemed to die down at the very end of the day and Schenk went off in the final group of the day. For Schenk is was all about steady play on the tee box, striping nine (of 14) fairways to gain 1.93 strokes off-the-tee. The Purdue product played patient golf from there and it finally paid off with a 6'7" birdie conversion at the par-4 eight hole (his 17th hole of the round). Schenk joins Daniel Berger as the only golfers to record bogey-free rounds today. Currently 12th on the leaderboard, this will be the first time Schenk has positioned himself inside the top 15 after any round on the PGA TOUR.
Ben Crane coasts to a 68 in R1 of the Honda 02-22-2018
Ben Crane
Ben Crane steadied a 2-under-par 32-36=68 during the opening round of The Honda Classic, staking a spot inside the top 10 after Thursday. The straight shooter split eight (of 14) fairways and landed just eight greens today. His short game came to the rescue as he gained 2.163 strokes around-the-green and also gained 1.999 strokes with the putter. The highlight came at the par-3 seventh hole where he holed out from the rough (20'4"). Crane entered with a 3-for-7 record this season with nothing better than T32. His resume at this event is much better (9-for-10 including a solo third in 2009).
Oosthuizen rallies late in R1 for 3-under 67 02-22-2018
Louis Oosthuizen
Louis Oosthuizen kicked off his PGA TOUR season with a 3-under-par 31-36=67 during round one of The Honda Classic, taking a seat just one back of early co-leaders Alex Noren and Webb Simpson. The South African started on the back nine and really eased into his round. He traded two bogeys with six bogeys before a 6'6" birdie dropped at the par-5 18th. His flat stick came up clutch on several occasions to save mid-range pars, keeping the momentum rolling. Toward the end of the round, his short game started to shine. He holed out from the fringe at the par-3 seventh and then walked off the course with a bunker hole-out for birdie at the par-4 ninth hole. Oosthuizen has a bad history with WDs at this event but he should stay in the mix as long as he pegs it for three more rounds.
Henley heats up early in R1 of Honda Classic 02-22-2018
Russell Henley
Russell Henley turned on the scoring machine in round one of The Honda Classic, signing for a 2-under-par 33-35=68 which places him two off the early pacesetters at the top. The 2014 Honda champ kicked off his day on the back nine with a bogey-birdie start. He would add back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 before dropping back-to-back shots at 16 and 17. The highlight of the round came after the turn at the par-5 third hole. It was here that he stiffed his 251-yard approach shot to 4'6" and slammed it home for an eagle. Henley walked off the course gaining 2.681 strokes approaching-the-green and picked up another 1.842 strokes with the flat stick. Since winning this event, PGA National has not been as kind to the Georgia Bulldog (T44-MC-T43) but he's off the the races this week, currently tied for a piece of eighth place.
Mac Hughes heats up late in R1 of the Honda 02-22-2018
Mackenzie Hughes
Mackenzie Hughes popped out of his slump during round one of The Honda Classic, blitzing the homeward nine en route to a 3-under-par 30-37=67, placing him just one off the pacesetters at the top. Hughes arrives on the heels of eight straight missed cuts, but he's well on his way toward his first paycheck of the season after today's round. The Canadian started on the back nine and traded seven pars with a pair of bogeys before the turn. That's where the fun started, beginning with a chip-in from 24'4" at the par-4 first hole. That was the first of four straight birdies. After a simple par at the fifth, he holed out from 65'4" at the sixth and topped things off with an 18-footer at the par-3 seventh. Most of this scoring came from long distance and may not be repeatable but sometimes that's all it takes to snap out of a funk. Gamers should watch closely to see how Hughes follows this up.
Webb Simpson shares the R1 Honda lead 02-22-2018
Webb Simpson
Webb Simpson soared up the leaderboard during round one of The Honda Classic, cruising to a 4-under-par 32-34=66, good for a share of the clubhouse lead alongside Alex Noren. Simpson was steady in his tee-to-green game, splitting nine (of 14) fairways en route to 11 greens in regulation. It was his flat stick that really did the heavy lifting today, though. Simpson didn't miss any bunnies but he also converted four putts from outside 11 feet, two of them coming from 21+ feet. The Wake Forest product appears to be glad to be back on bermuda greens as he walked off the course gaining 3.694 strokes putting. This will go in the books as Simpson's seventh career first-round lead/co-lead with the latest coming at the 2015 Sony Open. Entering the week he was just 1-for-3 at PGA National but this is his first appearance since the 2011 edition.
Bud Cauley (wrist) WDs after R1 at The Honda 02-22-2018
Bud Cauley
Bud Cauley swallowed a 10-over-par 40-40=80 during round one of The Honda Classic and shortly after he withdrew from the event. He cited a wrist injury as the culprit.

PGA TOUR Media (Twitter)
Cauley circled a birdie at the par-4 first hole but that was the lone bright spot of the day. There wasn't one aspect of the game that kept him down, losing strokes to the field in all four sub-categories including -3.033 strokes gained putting. Cauley has two previous mid-tourney WDs on his resume but this is the first since his return from shoulder surgery in 2014. We will update if any injury news pops up. UPDATE: Cauley shared an update with his social media followers saying, "wrist starting [started] hurting me yesterday, gave it a go but it's still hurting. going to get it looked at... hope to be healthy for Tampa."
Danny Lee (personal) WDs during R1 of Honda 02-22-2018
Danny Lee
Danny Lee cited family reasons as the cause of his mid-round withdraw during day one of The Honda Classic. He was 7-over thru 15 holes at the time of his WD. Lee started his scoring with a birdie at the par-5 third but it was all downhill from there. He plummeted to 7-over thru 15 holes before calling it quits. The television broadcast gave word that Lee cited family reasons for the cause of this WD but there is no further information at this time. He entered the week with just two top 50s in nine starts since returning from a back injury at the CIMB Classic.
Kaymer WDs from Honda with a wrist injury 02-22-2018
Martin Kaymer
Martin Kaymer has withdrawn from The Honda Classic following a 5-over-par 36-39=75 during round one, citing a wrist injury.

PGA TOUR Media (Twitter)
The German entered the week fresh off a T53 in his Genesis Open debut. At the Honda he was returning to an event where he finished T4 last year. It wasn't meant to be this week, though, as he traded five bogeys and a double with just two birdies. His typically strong ball-striking was absent today as he lost 1.809 strokes off-the-tee and another 2.037 strokes approaching-the-green. Kaymer's last missed cut on the PGA TOUR had previously come at the 2016 Valspar Championship so this was a big blow to gamers who were relying on a cut made this week. There is no word on the severity of this wrist injury but he's not qualified for next week's WGC-Mexico Championship so the earliest we'd see him again would be at the Valspar Championship.
Woods looks strong in R1 of The Honda Classic 02-22-2018
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods looked good en route to an even-par 36-34=70 during round one of The Honda Classic, placing him four strokes off the early pace set by Alex Noren.

Sean Martin (Twitter)
Woods is coming off a missed cut at the Genesis Open but he looked much better today. Courtesy of PGA TOUR's Sean Martin, Woods split just 1-of-5 fairways when using driver today but was 6-for-9 otherwise. We should expect him to straighten out the big stick eventually, but for now, these less-than-driver courses should suit the Big Cat much better than big ballparks like Torrey Pines or Riviera. Woods' big blemish came at the par-5 seventh where he recorded a double but bounced back nicely with a birdie at the fourth. This round is currently beating the field average by 2.48 strokes. Today is a very solid sign of his 2018 potential, but we'll need to see him piece together two or three consecutive good rounds before we start to crown him.
Lovemark battles toward 2-under 68 at Honda 02-22-2018
Jamie Lovemark
Jamie Lovemark battled back from an early blemish to post a 2-under-par 37-31=68, a solid opening round to sit two off the early pacesetter at this week's Honda Classic. Lovemark couldn't get things going, early in his round, and even swallowed a double bogey at the par-4 sixth hole. He didn't try to push too hard, instead, he stayed patient and waited for the birdies to start flowing. That all started at the par-4 12th where he sank a 23'10" birdie bomb. The USC product would tack on three more circles coming into the clubhouse. The Florida resident is making his seventh appearance at this event, and this matches his previous low at PGA National's Champion Course (R2, 2014). After a T26 at last week's Genesis Open, Lovemark may be officially rounding into form. With trouble lurking everywhere this week, he'll need to keep his eye on the prize for three more rounds.
Noren claims top spot after Honda AM wave 02-22-2018
Alexander Noren
Alex Noren won the battle with The Bear Trap and escaped his opening round with a 4-under-par 31-35=66, good for sole possession of the early Honda Classic lead, with the afternoon wave just getting their day started. The Swede entered on the heels of three straight top 25s since arriving in the States and he's not showing any signs of slowing down in Florida. The Bear Trap is playing 1.54 strokes over par at the moment but Noren played it at 1-under for the day. Noren put on a ball-striking clinic today, gaining 2.290 strokes on approach while battling heavy winds in Palm Beach Gardens. Most notable was his 186-yard approach at the par-4 sixth which he stuck to inside four feet for a tap-in birdie. In fact, all but one of his birdie conversions came from inside 10 feet (he did also add a 14'4" par-saver). The lone exception was a 32'9" birdie bomb at the par-4 second. Making his 39th career PGA TOUR start, Noren is now in line for his first career first-round lead on this circuit, if this holds by day's end.
Berger blemish-free in R1 of Honda Classic 02-22-2018
Daniel Berger
Florida State alum Daniel Berger breezed through PGA National's Champion Course, penciling a bogey-free, 3-under-par 34-33=67 during round one of The Honda Classic, good for an early piece of the clubhouse lead alongside Justin Thomas and Morgan Hoffmann. Battling blustery conditions in round one, Berger split 11 (of 14) fairways en route to 13 greens in regulation. Opening the day on the back nine, Berger rattled home par-savers from 11'2" and 22'5" at the 10th and 14th, respectively. He would also add a 10'6" par-saver later in the round. The latter came at the par-4 sixth where his tee ball found the water but he was able to put on some rain gear, kick off his socks, and blast it out. Boog would walk off the course gaining 2.325 strokes with the flat stick. This is the first bogey-free round recorded today and may end up being the only BFR recorded by day's end. Last year there were just six bogey-free rounds recorded here at PGA National, for the entire week.
Thomas takes his share of early Honda lead 02-22-2018
Justin Thomas
Local resident Justin Thomas tackled PGA National's Champion Course in round one of The Honda Classic, escaping with a 3-under-par 33-34=67 to share early possession of the clubhouse lead, alongside fellow Florida residents Morgan Hoffmann and Daniel Berger. Before the event, Thomas expressed a lot of confidence in the way his game is trending. He continued that strong play today, marking the eighth straight event where he's positioned himself inside the top 25 after R1. Thomas opened his day on the back nine and needed a pair of par-savers from outside 10 feet to keep his round from unfolding. After the early grind, he went on cruise control around the turn, circling four straight birdies after leaving the Bear Trap. That placed him in sole possession of the lead but tree troubles at the par-4 6th led to a bogey before he traded birdie-bogey at the 7th and 8th holes. While Thomas has missed cuts in two of his three visits to PGA National, he also sandwiched a T3 in those results. Given the current state of his game, there is no reason to expect much of a fade, if any, throughout the week.
Bozzelli cruises in R1 of The Honda Classic 02-22-2018
Dominic Bozzelli
Dominic Bozzelli got off to another fast start, smoothing a 2-under-par 35-33=68 during round one of The Honda Classic. Bozzelli fired a 4-under 67 at last week's Genesis Open, finding himself in a share of third place after day one. He may be in a similar position after today's 2-under 68. He currently sits in a share of fifth place on the live leaderboard with play still in progress. The Auburn product traded five birdies with three bogeys, despite finding just eight greens in regulation. Short game was key today as he drained five putts from outside nine feet and also holed out from 36'8" for birdie at the par-4 16th. Bozzelli has finished outside the top 20 in each of his last 11 starts, but he's certainly showing signs of form lately.
Piller parades up the board early @ the Honda 02-22-2018
Martin Piller
Martin Piller popped up the leaderboard on day one of The Honda Classic, posting a 1-under-par 36-33=69 to pick up an early seat inside the top 10. Piller opened with a ho-hum, 1-over 36 on the outward nine, swallowing one bogey without recording a single birdie. The highlights started racking up after the turn. Most notable was his 166-yard hole-out eagle at the par-4 10th, picking up two shots on the field. On his way home he'd bomb in a pair of lengthy putts from the 18-to-25 foot range. Making his tournament debut this week, Piller has taken a quick liking to PGA National's Champion Course. He arrived with missed cuts in two of his last three starts (but a T3 at the CareerBuilder in the start before that).
Hoffmann heats up early at The Honda Classic 02-22-2018
Morgan Hoffmann
Morgan Hoffmann steadied a 3-under-par 33-34=67 during his opening round of The Honda Classic, giving him the title of early leader in the clubhouse with plenty of play still in progress. Playing in blustery conditions, scoring has been tough this morning at PGA National (field average of +2.87 RTP at the moment). Hoffmann clipped that mark by 5.87 strokes as he traded four birdies with one bogey, leaning heavily on the flat stick. He sank a 16'1" par-saver early at the par-4 12th and later added three birdie conversions from outside 13 feet. Hoffmann walked off the course gaining 2.242 strokes putting. Spending his college days at Oklahoma State and now residing locally here in Florida, Hoffmann is used to these windy conditions. He arrived on the heels of six straight missed cuts but a return to a familiar venue (runner-up last year) has lit a fire early in the week.
Oliver Fisher 1 back after opening 18 in Doha 02-22-2018
Oliver Fisher rode an opening 65 to take T10 in the 2015 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and he'll hope to cash in again on a fast start after signing for a 6-under-par 35-31=66 in today's first round at Doha GC. A walk-off birdie at 18 completed a 5-under inward nine for the Englishman and dropped him just one behind first spot held by compatriots Eddie Pepperell and Aaron Rai along with Frenchman Gregory Havret. Fisher started his day with a gain at 10 but gave it back soon after at 12. He had to stay patient for his next red number but when it came at 18 his round really took off. He followed that with a trio of circles at 2, 3 and 4 before continuing his climb by ticking 7 and 9. After a run of three missed cuts he cashed when T44 in Oman last week and this represents his best round since a closing 65 gave him T7 in October's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Ilonen enjoys another strong day at Doha GC 02-22-2018
Mikko Ilonen
Mikko Ilonen has a fine record in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters but he shot his best opening round in 14 attempts today thanks to a 5-under-par 36-31=67, good enough for T7 and putting him just two back from co-leaders Eddie Pepperell, Gregory Havret and Aaron Rai. The Finn has been runner-up, T9 and T13 in the last five years but today's lap of Doha GC eclipsed his previous R1 low by a shot, the 68 he hung up when taking second place in 2014. That seemed extremely unlikely when he opened with six pars and a bogey-4 at No. 3 but after balancing the books with a first red number at the 8th he got hot on the back nine. Ilonen birdied 10 and 11 before finishing with a rush of red thanks to par breakers at 15, 16 and 18. He came into the event on the back of T26 in Oman last week.
Lindheim WDs ahead of The Honda Classic 02-22-2018
Nicholas Lindheim
Nicholas Lindheim will take a pass on this week's Honda Classic, opening a spot in the field for first alternate Ethan Tracy.
Lindheim was a mid-tournament WD last week at the Genesis Open, citing an illness. He was 9-over thru 17 holes at the time of his WD and did not return after being stranded, due to darkness. There is no reason given for this 11th-hour change of heart but he is no longer listed in the field. Gamers can assume this is carry over from last week's illness.
Quiros shoots 66; shows old love for Doha GC 02-22-2018
Alvaro Quiros
Alvaro Quiros conjured a 6-under-par 33-33=66 to lie T4 on the live leaderboard early in the first round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha GC in Qatar. The 2009 winner of this tournament has been in the doldrums since winning the Rocco Forte Open last May, lurching into this week on a run of 2-for-17 and lacking even one top 60 finish. He will also have the spectre of Close House in his mind. There, in the British Masters, he opened with a 64 only to add 76 and miss another weekend. But his course history is strong and he ought to have confidence after a lap which witnessed calm accumulation rather than one burst of activity. On the front nine he ticked 1, 3 and 7. The back nine saw him take advantage of both par-5s (10 and 18) and add more red smack in between at No. 14. He lunched just one back of the clubhouse lead of Eddie Pepperell, Aaron Rai and Gregory Havret.
Pepperell co-leads Qatar Masters early in R1 02-22-2018
Eddie Pepperell
Eddie Pepperell torched Doha Golf Club with a 7-under-par 32-33=65 to claim a share of the early clubhouse lead in the first round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters alongside Gregory Havret and Aaron Rai, one clear of the field on a morning of low scoring. The Englishman equaled his career best round on the Peter Harradine design, the previous effort coming in the third round of the 2015 event when he finished T4. It was a blistering effort that started on the back nine and he wasted no time displaying his intentions. He opened with back-to-back red numbers at 10 and 11, went bogey-birdie at 13 and 14, then peppered more red at 14, 16 and 18. The front nine was less dramatic and he failed to make hay on either of the vulnerable par-5s. The first circle came at No. 2, he added another after draining an 8'0" putt at the fifth before, at the 391-yard par-4 seventh, he pitched to 4'0" and converted the birdie chance. There are no half measures with Pepperell on this track. 13 laps now and he's only once signed a card in the 71-73 range.
E. Molinari cards career low 65 in Doha 02-22-2018
Edoardo Molinari
Edoardo Molinari enjoyed a remarkable two-tone Thursday at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters; his 6-under-par 35-31 first round leaving him just one back of the clubhouse lead at Doha GC in Qatar. When the morning wave had completed their work the Italian was just that one swing shy of Eddie Pepperell, Gregory Havret and Aaron Rai, but that told little of an extraordinary circuit which started with eight straight pars from the first. The sense that he was ready to build on last week's T16 in Oman, his first top 20 since victory in last year's Trophee Hassan II, came with four birdies in a row at 9, 10, 11 and 12. He followed it with par at No. 13, one of only two pars in his last 12 holes, the other coming at the 17th. He went birdie-bogey-birdie from the 14th and rounded off the day with a final (chip in) par breaker at the 18th to better his career best total at Doha by four.
Rai blasts round one 65 in the Qatar Masters 02-22-2018
Aaron Rai
Aaron Rai's 2018 season burst into life with a round one 7-under-par 33-32=65 in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha GC which left him T1 on the very early live leaderboard. The Englishman's lap of the Peter Harradine creation was bogey-free and ended in spectacular style. On the front nine he opened and closed with birdie-4s, with a tick alongside No. 6 in between. The back nine bore witness to two par breakers at 12 and 16 before the dramatics of an eagle-3 at the 589-yard par-5 18th hole. It's the third time he has posted a 65 at this level, both times they contributed to top ten finishes (last year's Joburg Open and Made in Denmark tournament). He held that early tie for the lead with Eddie Pepperell and Gregory Havret as he seeks a first top ten of the campaign.
Havret shines early in Qatar Masters with 65 02-22-2018
Gregory Havret
Gregory Havret thrashed a flawless 7-under-par 33-32=65 in the first round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha GC in Qatar, good for T1 on the live leaderboard early on day one. The Frenchman last posted a 65 in the opening lap at the Portugal Masters, an effort which left him T3 at day's end and he won't be far from the lead this Thursday either. He opened up with five straight pars before ticking the sixth to make a start on his progress. The real action came around the turn: four birdies at 8, 9, 10 and 11. He added back nine circles at 13 (from just 8'0") and 16, but couldn't tame the par-5 last hole to claim the lead on his own. This is his 17th visit to the course and betters his previous best score for 18 holes, a round three 66 in 2011. It is also comfortably his best opening circuit, topping three 69s. His very early clubhouse lead was shared with Eddie Pepperell and Aaron Rai.