Journeyman Wes Roach grabs first lead of his career at Palmetto Championship at Congaree

The journeyman has grabbed the lead after the conclusion of round on the PGA Tour for the first time in his career.

Journeyman Wes Roach grabs first lead of his career at Palmetto Championship at Congaree

RIDGELAND, S.C. – Wes Roach went where he’d never gone before.

The journeyman who has bounced back and forth between the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour since 2012, who is ranked No. 433 in the world, grabbed the lead after the conclusion of round on the PGA Tour for the first time in his career.

With a 7-under-par 64 – just one shot off his career low on Tour – Roach was one shot clear of the field after Thursday’s first round of the Palmetto Championship at Congaree. It is the first time he grabbed the outright lead after any round in his 88 starts on the PGA Tour.

“It feels great,” Roach said of the first lead of his career. His best career finish on the PGA Tour is a tie for third in the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic. “Hard work paying off a little bit. It’s just 18 holes and there’s a long ways to go, but I’m just going to do my best to stay present out there and just continue to hit quality shots.

“I did everything pretty well. I drove it nice, I putted as good as I have in a while and I made it from 104 yards on the 4th hole, so that was a nice bonus as well.”

Palmetto: Friday tee times, TV info | Leaderboard | Photos

Those 104 holes on the fourth came from the fairway on his third shot as he made eagle on the 633-yard par-5. That put him at 4 under through four holes. He went on to post a front-nine 30 – the third of his career and first since 2014.

“I got off to a good start. I made a nice par, a nice up-and-down from the sand on 1.  And then made a couple birdies and then I holed out there on 4. It was kind of on cruise control,” he said. “I hit a lot of good shots kind of right where I was looking up until I guess right around 12 and 13, got a little bit off, but relied on my short game a little bit and was able to make a few pars.

“And then made another birdie coming in on 16. So it was a good day.”

Roach, 32, had missed the cut in half of his eight starts on Tour this season and posted a season-best tie for 13th in the Puerto Rico Open. But he recently changed putters and is leading the field in putting through one round.

“I’ve been hitting the ball pretty well for the majority of the year and my putter has just, it wasn’t very good, to be honest,” he said. “So kind of mixed things up a little bit a few weeks ago back home and everything’s in a good spot right now.”

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson was a shot back at 65. Joining him there were Erik van Rooyen, Chesson Hadley and Doc Redman. At 66 was Jhonattan Vegas.

In a large group at 67 was Harris English. Among those at 68 were Tommy Fleetwood and Ian Poulter.

World No. 8 Brooks Koepka, playing for the first time since finishing in a tie for second in the PGA Championship, birdied the last to shoot 72. The last four times he failed to break par in the first round of a PGA Tour event he missed the cut.

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Lexi Thompson 'focused on the good' as she gets back to work at LPGA Mediheal

Lexi Thompson took Monday off for a photo shoot and then got right back to work this week at Lake Merced.

Lexi Thompson 'focused on the good' as she gets back to work at LPGA Mediheal

Ireland’s Leona Maguire rolled in nine birdies in the opening round of the LPGA Mediheal Championship to take a one-shot lead at 7 under. But the big question heading into the first round at Lake Merced: How would Lexi Thompson fare?

After suffering a devastating collapse at the U.S. Women’s Open, less than four miles down the road at The Olympic Club, Thompson took Monday off for a photo shoot and then got right back to work. She’s currently tied for 14th at the Mediheal after a 1-under 71.

“Really just surrounded myself with my dad and my manager as well,” said Thompson, when asked how she tried to reset. Thompson also noted that she tried to sign as many autographs as she could.

“Just really focused on the good that came out of Sunday, and the good that I had that whole week.”

Thompson, who is currently tied for 11th, said she hit two “iffy” tee shots on Thursday but rolled it well coming in. She hit nine fairways, 14 greens and took 33 putts. She also pitched in for eagle on the par-5 fifth.

“It was good that I just didn’t go home and ponder over it all,” she said of the decision to play this week.

Thompson, of course, rebounded with a victory at the Kingsmill Championship shortly after that brutal loss at the 2017 ANA Inspiration. She also won the ShopRite LPGA Classic immediately after a runner-up finish at the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open.

Leona Maguire lines up her putt on the 15th hole during the first round of the LPGA Mediheal Championship at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, California. Photo by Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Maguire has a new Irish caddie on the bag this week and said Lake Merced has a home feeling to it. It’s also the first time identical twin sister Lisa has been out on tour with Leona since last February. The pair planned to visit the Golden Gate Bridge Thursday afternoon.

“I suppose the weather is similar to home, even the golf course is similar to home,” said Maguire. “It’s very green and sort of tree-lined a little bit like what we get at home. Northern California’s been good to me and I won my first Symetra event not too far from here, so these kind of golf courses suit my eye and it was a lot of fun to play with Lydia (Ko), and we played a lot together over the last few months at Lake Nona.”

In keeping the recent Stanford storylines going, Cardinal grad Albane Valenzuela holds a share of third after a 4-under 68 with former teammate Ziyi Wang, who goes by Emily, on the bag. Wang, a Rhodes Scholar, graduated from Stanford with a Master’s degree in international policy on Wednesday.

“She’s really like my best, best friend from college,” said Valenzuela, “and this week neither my dad or my brother could caddie because my brother is playing in the Mexican Am, so I called her and I was like, ‘Can you please caddie for me?’ She was like, ‘done deal.’ Reply within five minutes. Really cool.”

Inbee Park headlines a group at 3 under, making four consecutive birdies on Nos. 4-7. Park said she didn’t get too much rest after the USWO because she played Harding Park with a few friends earlier this week.

The LPGA Hall of Famer is a huge fan of Bay Area courses.

“Obviously the weather is a little bit chilly for those two weeks and we’re going to be in the summer after this,” she said, “but I really enjoyed playing these two courses. They’re a little bit different. Both really good layouts I love to play.”

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