Seamus Power brilliantly stuck to his pre-tournament word, muscling his way to within two strokes of the clubhouse lead late on day one of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
Power was just one-under par through nine holes but took the Motor City overtaken lane over the inward half with four birdies in a five-under par 67 to end the day in a share of 11th place.
It left the lone Irishman in the field just two shots behind the leading threesome of Americans Scott Stallings, Doc Redman and Kevin Kisner in signing for 65s while Bryson ‘Hulk Hogan’ DeChambeau, with an eagle and eight birdies, let slip finishing on seven under with a last hole bogey
Redman, 22 is a former U.S. Amateur champion and no stranger to going low in Detroit having shot a 62 a year ago in Monday qualifying for this year’s $7.5m event.
The North Carolina native then finished second on his own to not only earn $722,000 but also earn a Tour card for the 2019/20 season along with a place in last year’s 148th Open Championship.
“It’s a lot different this year compared to last year,” said Redman.
“I was talking to some of my friends about it, I’ve come off two good finishes and a really good finish last year at this event, which has never really happened to me.
“So, I’ve never had this kind of expectation externally or even internally if I let it, so just trying to make it the same as every other week.
“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.”
Power spoke candidly to IrishGolfer.ie on the eve of the event of a desire to make every post a winner in what may just be three main PGA Tour events he will have in order to boost his current Tour status and the 33-year old did just that with an impressive kick-start to his round and 10 strokes fewer than the 77 he posted a year ago to miss the cut on the Detroit course.
“I drove it very well, which makes a big difference, especially with the rough being up,” said Power.
“It was kind of frustrating there, especially on the back side, my front side, as I hit some good drives into par 5s, kind of only came away with 5s, which is disappointing.
“On the front side, I got it together a little bit, birdied both par 5s and made one putt, so kind of overall pretty pleased, nice start, especially playing in the afternoon.
“This is a very good course, especially the way it’s set up. You hit a good drive in the fairway and you do have a lot of opportunities, but as soon as you miss a fairway or green, the rough is nasty.
“So,it’s set up very, very well. Obviously today, without a lot of breeze, you’re still going to have opportunities, but the course itself is fantastic.
“I’ve always like playing Donald Ross designed courses, so this one’s no different. It’s in great shape, greens are holding up well, so really no excuses.”
Power, with Cork’s Simon Keelan on the bag as caddy, commenced his round from the 10th but could manage just one birdie over his outward half in sandwiching a three-foot at the par-4 13th in between eight pars.
Power then kick-started his push to the front sinking a six-footer for birdie at the first hole on the card and the 10th of his round before one of the shots of his round in landing a 110-yard wedge shot to just two-feet for a third birdie of his round.
The West Waterford golfer then holed a super 26-footer for birdie at the par-4 sixth to move to four-under and then at the next, the par-5 seventh and Power’s 16th, he two-putted for birdie from 60-feet.
Power then pared his closing two holes for a then clubhouse share of eighth place.
The Irishman is contesting his first full PGA Tour event since February and since the return to golf on June 11thPower has competed in two secondary Korn Ferry events.
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