PGA Tour

Doc Redman right at home at Detroit Golf Club

Doc Reman of the United States plays a shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Golf Club on 2 July 2020.
Doc Reman of the United States plays a shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Golf Club on 2 July 2020.
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Doc Redman is red-hot at Detroit Golf Club again, firing seven of his eight birdies on the back nine Thursday to grab a share of the first-round lead in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Redman, 22, was a surprise runner-up in Detroit last year after coming through Monday tournament qualifying.

After a bogey at the 10th put him even for the day in the wake of a lone front-nine birdie, Redman caught fire with seven birdies the rest of the way for a seven-under par 65.

"I've come off two good finishes and a really good finish last year at this event, which has never really happened to me," Redman said of his comfort level on the course.

"I think I feel very comfortable because I've played well here and been here. So it just comes down to playing golf and doing the best I can."

He was tied for the early lead with fellow Americans Scott Stallings and Kevin Kisner, who were also at seven under.

Argentina's Emiliano Grillo and American Bryson DeChambeau were part of a group of seven golfers who finished on six-under 66.

Five-time USPGA Tour winner Rickie Fowler, of the US, and Canadian Adam Hadwin are among a large group of 14 who are two shots off the pace.

Redman kick-started his round with a birdie putt of less than three feet at the par-three 11th. After draining a 15-footer at 12 he tapped in for birdie at 13, needed just a four-footer for birdie at 15 and rolled in an 11-footer at 16.

After another tap-in at 17, he capped his round with a downhill 15-footer at the last -- where the challenge posed for the early starters was epitomized by Fowler's double-bogey.

Fowler's double-bogey from dense rough at 18 came mid-round after his 10th-tee start. It was the only miscue in a round that included seven birdies, including three in a row on his inward run en route to his 67.

Fowler played alongside defending champion Nate Lashley, who led wire-to-wire on the way to a six-shot win last year.

But Lashley got off to a stuttering start on the way to a one-under 71.

Lashley said his problem wasn't nerves, but rather not having fans in attendance to help get the competitive juices flowing.

"It almost feels like it's not a golf tournament," Lashley said. "So I need to maybe get some nerves for tomorrow and get a little adrenaline going."

DeChambeau hasn't hoisted a PGA trophy since 2018, but with the way he is playing, that streak could end soon.

The pre-tournament favourite, who added 20 pounds of muscle to his frame during the Covid-19 shutdown, finished with a mixed bag of one eagle, eight birdies, four bogeys and five pars.

He started with a birdie on the first hole then birdied No 3 and made his first bogey on the fifth. He closed out the front nine with two birdies followed by two more bogeys before finding his groove on the back nine.

"It's fun, I am using that to my advantage," he said of the added weight. "There are certain holes I can really get after. Even if I miss it a little bit, I still have decent looks to the green. I just got to clean up some of the half shots."

The event is the fourth since the PGA Tour resumed play in the wake of a three-month coronavirus shutdown that began in March.

The first tournament slated to admit fans is The Memorial, 16-19 July in Dublin, Ohio.

Leading first round scores here on Thursday in PGA Tour's Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit (USA unless noted):

65 - Doc Redman, Scott Stallings, Kevin Kisner

66 - Chris Stroud, Bryson DeChambeau, JJ Spaun, Chase Seiffert, Peter Malnati, Emiliano Grillo (ARG), Matt Wallace (ENG)

67 - Adam Hadwin (CAN), Rhein Gibson (AUS), Seamus Power (IRL), Henrik Norlander (SWE), George McNeill, Chris Kirk, Rickie Fowler, Hudson Swafford, James Hahn, Mark Hubbard, Lucas Glover, Johnson Wagner, Brandon Hagy, Richy Werenski

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