Gary Woodland, Trey Mullinax tied for lead at CJ Cup


Gary Woodland and Trey Mullinax are tied atop a talent-packed leaderboard after the first round of The CJ Cup in South Carolina on Thursday in Ridgeland, S.C.

Woodland and Mullinax shot 6-under 66 at Congaree Golf Club. One shot behind the leaders are defending champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, rising star Tom Kim of South Korea, Aaron Wise, Wyndham Clark, Kurt Kitayama and Australia’s Cam Davis.

Two back at 4-under 67 are Norway’s Viktor Hovland, England’s Tyrrell Hatton, Seamus Power of Ireland, Sungjae Im and Si Woo Kim of South Korea and Taylor Moore.

Woodland birdied his first three holes and added four more, including the par-4 17th and 18th, to go with two bogeys.

“I drove the golf ball well all day, saw some putts go in and that kind of freed up the ball-striking,” Woodland said. “Playing from the fairway out here is a huge advantage and I was able to attack a little bit from there as well. All in all, I had all three aspect of driving, ball-striking, putting going on and it was a good day.”

Woodland won the 2019 U.S. Open but hasn’t won any tournament since. He missed more cuts (12) than he made (11) in the 2021-22 season and is looking to rebound.

Mullinax opened with five birdies on the front nine and got up to 7 under through 12 holes, but he wrapped up with six straight 4s — five pars and his lone bogey.

“We don’t get to play these kind of courses all the time, so I think it’s a lot of fun for us and a treat,” Mullinax said of Congaree, hosting the CJ Cup for the first time. “You could hit any shot you want and you don’t have to hit the same shot over and over, which is really fun about this golf course and kind of brings an artistic feel to it.”

McIlroy had the only bogey-free round of anyone in the top 10, highlighted by three straight birdies at Nos. 4-6. He won the event last season when it was held in Las Vegas.

“It’s a golf course where you can hit driver a lot, the fairways are quite generous, but obviously if you go off the fairways, you can get in some trouble,” McIlroy said. “But I drove the ball well today. I took advantage of the par 5s, the drivable par 4 on the back nine there, 15.”

Wise made six of his seven birdies by sticking his approaches 8 feet or closer to the pin, including 1 foot away at the par-4 third and par-3 seventh.

Other major champions on the leaderboard included Justin Thomas and Irishman Shane Lowry at 3-under 68, Spaniard Jon Rahm and Jason Day of Australia at 2-under 69 and Collin Morikawa and England’s Matt Fitzpatrick at 1-under 70.

–Field Level Media

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