GREENSBORO, N.C. — Despite being frustrated to finish with two bogeys on his final three holes, Kevin Streelman was just thrilled to be done and to get out of a steady rainfall that fell during Thursday’s first round of the Wyndham Championship.
“It was a consistent, annoying, cold, wet, gross day,” he said after posting 2-under 68.
Justin Thomas, who is in desperate need to break out of his slump and to climb into the top 70 in the FedEx Cup season-long standings and qualify for the playoffs, agreed.
“The weather was a bummer,” said Thomas, who settled for an even-par 70. “When I woke up and looked at it this morning, didn’t think I was going to be playing 16 holes in rain.”
“It’s just annoying, right?” added Stephen Jaeger, who shot 29 on his first nine and carded 3-under 67.
But not even difficult conditions at Sedgefield Country Club could dampen the spirits of Australian Adam Scott, who made seven birdies to grab the early lead with a 5-under 65, a stroke better than Belgium’s Thomas Detry.
Scott, 43, is among the pros who are in danger of missing the playoffs, which begin next week. He enters the week at No. 81 in points and in need of a minimum of a two-way T-9 to have a chance to move into the top 70 and a three-way T-3 or better based on the Tour’s projection. Scott and veteran Matt Kuchar, who is safe to make the playoffs once again, are the only two players who have qualified for the playoffs in each season since the inception of the FedEx Cup in 2007. Scott said he is treating each of the four rounds this week as if it is an 18-hole qualifier.
“If I can be the low man every day, I’ll be just fine for winning the tournament and getting through to the playoffs,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ve got a few more good ones in me.”
Scott made a bogey at No. 11, his second hole of the day, but quickly righted the ship with back-to-back birdies. Scott’s putter, which he considers the best part of his game the last few years, bailed him out whenever he had what he tabbed “a few squirrelly shots.”
“I rolled it nicely,” he said. “When you do that, it makes up for a lot of average stuff.”
Scott blocked his tee shot right at the 226-yard par-3 seventh, which nearly was in the penalty area, hacked on and escaped with par by canning a 14-foot putt.
“Sometimes you get lucky,” he said. “At this point, it’s all evened out in my career. I’ve had some good breaks and some bad breaks and that was a good one. They feel even better when you get it up and down.”
It was very much a vintage performance by Scott, according to PGA Tour Live analyst Colin Swatton, who was impressed with the way every time Scott dealt with adversity, he overcame it.
“If I’m going to walk around in the rain, I’m going to walk around and watch you play well,” Swatton said.
Scott wedged to three feet at the par-4 eighth to improve to 6 under for the day but dropped a shot at his last hole.
“Just a bit of a sloppy last hole, but when you shoot 65 you can stomach that,” he said.
England’s Matt Wallace held the lead for much of the day but made bogeys on three of his final five holes to shoot 3-under 67. Afterward, he complained that he didn’t like the golf course very much.
“Hopefully I can turn that tune around and at the end of the week I’ll tell you I absolutely love this golf course and thanks for having me and I’ll be back again next year,” Wallace said.