2017 Colonial champion Kevin Kisner fired an opening round 65 to join Doc Redman and Scott Stallings at 7-under atop the Rocket Mortgage Classic leaderboard.
Kisner had seven birdies in a bogey-free round at the Donald Ross designed Detroit Golf Club.
“I struck it awesome all day, hitting all my lines, hitting the shot shapes I wanted to hit, been struggling with the putter and finally got it going there on the back nine, made a bunch in the six-, eight-foot range,” Kisner said. “Then made a nice one on 7 from about 15 feet. So really good way to finish with a nice par putt on the last hole and ready to get back after it in the morning.”
Considering Kisner’s success at Colonial, it would only make sense that he would play well on a classic style course like Detroit Golf Club.
“I love it,’ Kisner said. “I wish we played courses like this all the time. Big rough and you’ve got to work it around the doglegs.You can play conservative or you can go for it. They give you birdie opportunities. We don’t get to play par 72s much, it’s fun to play four par 5s.”
Bryson DeChambeau is among seven players who are one shot out of the lead going into Friday.
“Playing the golf that I want to play, if I was to give myself a grade, and I know people are going to say things about this and people are going to chirp and chime in on what they think–oh, he’s playing unbelievable golf–I’d really say it’s B game right now. It’s not 100percent, but it’s not bad, either,” DeChambeau said.
Rickie Fowler is among the biggest names in the field and after missing the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge and RBC Heritage, he’s off to a hot start in Detroit with a first round 5-under 67.
“I’m happy with it,” Fowler said. “Anytime you make seven birdies, it’s a good day.”
2015 Colonial champion Chris Kirk is tied with Fowler and 13 others at 5-under. Last week Kirk captured his first victory since the Colonial when he won on the Korn Ferry Tour.
“It just gave me a little bit more belief,” Kirk said. “I think that before that, I knew that I was playing well, but obviously wasn’t seeing much in the way of results. But was happy with my golf swing and felt like I was working on the right things with my putting, but nothing can replace the confidence you get from shooting some low numbers and playing well when it counts.”
Of note, Wyndham Clark and Talor Gooch each withdrew due to back injuries.