Morikawa eager to savour taste of success after debut Open triumph
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Austin Cook was denied a hole in one in the most brutal fashion at the Wyndham Championship, after his ace attempt rolled right round the edge of the hole.
The American headed to the event in North Carolina ranked 134th in the FedEx Cup rankings, knowing the top 125 qualify for next week’s opening play-off event, the Northern Trust at Liberty National.
As well as playing for a place in the play-offs, the 30-year-old is also playing for his PGA Tour status for next season, as he has no exempt status for the 2021/22 campaign, meaning he would have to head on to the Korn Ferry Tour in the post-season.
After beginning his opening round on the 10th tee, Cook found himself one-under-par through his opening six holes as he arrived on the par three, 16th tee box.
As a result the American flew his tee shot at the 176-yard par three directly towards the pin, and after bouncing three feet short of the hole, Cook’s superb attempt ran right round the lip hole to deny him an ace in the most agonising fashion.
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The 30-year-old went on to tap in for birdie to move to two under for his round, but knows every shot matters as he looks to secure both a FedEx Cup play-off place and more importantly a PGA Tour card for next season.
Cook would then go onto make two frustrating birdies on his final nine holes, to finish with a level-par 70 for his opening round at Sedgefield Country Club, leaving him eight shots off the lead.
Fellow American Russell Henley is the man who holds the lead following day one of the event after he carded a magnificent, bogeyless eight-under 62 thanks to six birdies and an impressive eagle, three on the par five fifth.
Alongside Cook, English duo Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose are also gunning for a place in next week’s opening FedEx Cup play-off event at the Northern Trust as both sit just outside the top 125 in 136th and 138th respectively.
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Fleetwood and Rose know they both require at least a top 10 finish at this week’s championship to stand a chance of qualifying within the top 125 for next week’s opening play-off and both get off to a solid start, opening with identical four-under-par 66s.
Fleetwood was the first of the two to return to the clubhouse, and things could have been even better for the world No. 35 after he ended both the front and back nine with disappointing bogeys.
Despite this, the 2017 Race to Dubai champion did come away with plenty of positives, after carding five birdies and an eagle in his opening round.
Like his fellow Englishman, Rose also picked up an eagle three in his round to go alongside his four birdies, in a superb reaction after he bogeyed his opening two holes.
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