JEJU ISLAND, South Korea (AP) — In the first event of a three-tournament PGA TOUR swing through Asia, Byeong Hun An was the first-round leader in his home country at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES with an 8-under 64. Joaquin Niemann sits a stroke behind in second.
Jason Day’s attempt to impress International team captain Ernie Els for a spot at the Presidents Cup took a positive turn when the Australian shot a 6-under 66 to sit two strokes off the lead and in solo third after the opening round.
Day is hoping Els will chose him as a captain’s pick for the International team against the Tiger Woods-captained U.S. side in December at Royal Melbourne.
“It is certainly disappointing not to make the team on my own merits. But it is a reminder that nothing is given to you in this game,” Day said ahead of his first round.
“I certainly want to be on the team and believe I can be an asset to the Internationals. Being in my home country certainly gives me an edge and I’ve had some success on the sandbelt (courses) and Royal Melbourne in the past.”
Defending champion Brooks Koepka shot a 69 Thursday with an eagle on the 18th, his final hole, Last year’s runner-up Gary Woodland had a 71.
Justin Thomas, who won the inaugural CJ CUP, shot 68 and Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth each shot 70. Spieth is looking to end a lengthy drought — he hasn’t won in a span of 54 tournaments worldwide.
Kevin Na, who won in a playoff at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas two weeks ago, had a 72 and Sergio Garcia 73. Watch Now