MEMFIS, Tenn. – Harris Engels shot an 8-under-62 on Thursday to match his lowest PGA Tour score and the first round in the FedEx St. To take Jude Invitational.
The 2013 winner at TPC Southwind, English, had a two-stroke lead Jim Herman, Carlos Ortiz, Ian Poulter and Matthew Wolff, with Bryson DeChambeau, Scottie Scheffler and Marc Leishman another shot back at 65.
DeChambeau returns to competition after missing the Tokyo Olympics due to a positive test for COVID-19.
The 32-year-old English bird made the first four holes — making a 27-foot hole on the par-4 second — and adding birdies to the no. 6, 7 and 9 at the course’s nine point of 7-under 28 The 28 is also the English’s career low for nine holes.
“It was one of the rounds where I hit it very well from the side and made a lot of good holes,” Engels said.
In front with two strokes after nine holes, he had trouble starting the back nine. He has the no. 10 and 12 wheeled to fall out of the lead. But he recovered on the last holes. He closes with birdies at 15, 16 and 18. He hits his approach at 18 within 5 feet and drops the putt.
“I’m just happy with the way I fought back,” Engels said.
The strong start was a continuation of a solid season for English. Of his four PGA Tour victories, two have come this season: the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January in Hawaii and the Travelers Championship in June in Connecticut. He finished third during the US Open.
English won two of the four times he led or shared an opening round.
Ortiz, who played bogey-free, went up with birdies on the leaderboard at no. 15 and 16. Wolff also penned 15 and 16, saying “everything is starting to fall into place” for him.
Herman, who is looking for the fourth PGA victory of his career, is in contention after a difficult period in the mid-season in which he missed eight of ten tracks. After birdies at 16 and 17, he tied English short on the lead at 6 under. Herman’s birdie at 17 was 31 feet.
DeChambeau was encouraged by his beginnings. He told the media on Wednesday that he did not expect to be a big factor this week. That sentiment changed on Thursday.
“I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend,” he said. “I feel I can be there to win Sunday.”