Dell Technologies Championship 2018: Justin Rose Leads After Round 1

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2018

Justin Rose, of England, reacts after making a putt on the first green during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Justin Rose shot a six-under 65 on Friday in the first round of the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts, to seize the 18-hole lead.     

Here is a look at the top of a bunched-up leaderboard, with Rose leading Abraham Ancer and Russell Knox by one stroke, courtesy of PGATour.com:

                          

1. Justin Rose: -6 (65)

T-2. Abraham Ancer: -5 (66)

T-2. Russell Knox: -5 (66)

T-4. Chris Kirk: -4 (67)

T-4. Beau Hossler: -4 (67)

T-4. Keegan Bradley: -4 (67)

T-4. Gary Woodland: -4 (67)

T-8. Adam Hadwin: -3 (68)

T-8. Xander Schauffele: -3 (68)

T-8. Marc Leishman: -3 (68)

T-8. Dustin Johnson: -3 (68)

T-8. Webb Simpson: -3 (68)

T-8. James Hahn: -3 (68)

T-8. Rafa Cabrera Bello: -3 (68)

T-8. Brian Harman: -3 (68)

                      

Rose carded six birdies and no bogeys, and he was especially strong on the back nine with four birdies, three of which came over the last four holes.

Here is a look at Rose's final birdie on No. 18:

According to Justin Ray of Golf Channel, there is a scenario in which Rose could become the No. 1 player in the world this week:

Although that's a possibility for Rose, he hasn't gotten much help from Dustin Johnson or Brooks Koepka.

Johnson is one of several players tied for eighth at three under, while Koepka is tied for 16th at two under. Jordan Spieth is also in the mix at two under.

DJ had an up-and-down day, as his six birdies were tempered by three bogeys.

He started on the back nine, and his best run started on No. 18, as he reeled off three straight birdies on the 18th, first and second:

Perhaps Johnson's best shot came on the par-four fifth, where he overcame a terrible lie with a delicate chip to save par:

That set the stage for Johnson to birdie both Nos. 7 and 8.

Aussie Marc Leishman is among those tied with Johnson, and he had an eventful first round.

He started with a double bogey on No. 10, but he went on to post five birdies and no bogeys for the remainder of the round.

On the par-three 11th, Leishman came one rotation shy of registering a hole-in-one:

Later, on No. 6, Leishman hit the ball into the gallery and nearly out of bounds before draining a 56-foot birdie putt:

A pair of former Dell Technologies Championship winners are firmly in the running at four under and three under, respectively, in Chris Kirk and Webb Simpson.

Kirk won the event in 2014, when it was still called the Deutsche Bank Championships, while Simpson—who won The Players Championship this year—was the 2011 winner.

While the field was stacked with big names, several of the top players struggled to get anything going in the opening round.

Among them were Rory McIlroy (even), Phil Mickelson (one-over), Tiger Woods (one-over), Justin Thomas (two-over) and Jason Day (five-over).

Woods' 72 marked a continuation of his inability to get off to a strong start in the first round of tournaments this season.    

The 42-year-old finished the day with three birdies and four bogeys, but according to ESPN.com's Bob Harig, Woods was encouraged by how he fared with his new putter: "I putted beautifully today—I really did. I hit a lot of good putts and just have to give myself more looks out of them. I didn't hit the ball close enough today."

Woods and the other top golfers still have three days to make up ground, and the lack of an overly dominant score Friday aside from Rose's means they aren't yet out of it.

Even so, Rose is undoubtedly the player to beat in the early going considering he has four wins split between the PGA and European Tours since the start of the 2017 season.  

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