There is a three-way tie for the leader position at the end of the first round of competition of the 2021 Hero World Challenge that is currently underway at the Albany Golf Course. Locked in the three-way tie at the PGA (Professional Golfers Association) Tour event with a score of six-under par 72 are American Daniel Berger, Abraham Ancer, of Mexico, and British player Rory McIlroy.
Berger had a very strong start to the round, hitting four birdies on the first four holes. It helped him to build his confidence in a strong field of 20 players.
“I thought the course was in unbelievable shape,” Berger said. “The greens have slowly gotten better and better as the week has gone on. I mean, if you hit the putt where you’re looking, there’s a good chance they’re going to go in. I’ve been playing well, so not surprised, but obviously four birdies in the first four holes helps with the confidence.”
Berger finished the front nine scoring five-under with five birdies. He went up to seven-under at hole number 11 in which he got an eagle putt. He bogeyed hole number 12 but had a birdie on 18 to bring him back to six-under par.
Ancer was able to hit seven birdies in the first round. The Mexican professional golfer said he was happy with the way he hit the ball.
“It was a very solid round,” Ancer said. “I’m happy with pretty much all of my bag. I feel like I hit it great. Off the tee, I felt like I had a little bit more speed this week. I’ve been – wasn’t really feeling like I was swinging at it, maybe like a couple years ago off the tee, but still hitting a lot of fairways. I just didn’t have that pop and finally today I feel like my body was moving nicely and iron play was pretty solid as well, but probably the highlight was definitely my putter. I rolled it nicely today.”
This is Ancer’s debut at the Hero World Challenge. He only hit one bogey on the day which came on hole number nine. He finished the front nine with a score of one-under.
The front nine was not a kind one to McIlroy. The British professional golfer hit a double bogey on the ninth hole. This came after starting the first five holes with three birdies. He went into the back nine with a score of one-under.
Right at the beginning of the back nine, McIlroy was able to get birdies on holes number 10 and 11. He was three-under at that point. An eagle on hole 15 along with a birdie on 16 moved up the leaderboard.
“On the ninth, I pulled my tee shot but got away with it and sort of kicked around that fairway bunker and had enough club to get there in two, so I was trying to pull a shot off and I didn’t and ended up making a double from it. Yeah, I’m happy with how I responded on the back nine after that – played the back nine in five-under par. Yeah, it was a nice little response to not quite a mental error. I mean, I committed to the shot, I just didn’t make a great swing. Yeah, it was nice to play the back nine the way I did and put myself back in the tournament,” McIlroy said.
There is a three-way tie for fourth with Webb Simpson, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka all at five-under par.
Defending Champion Henrik Stenson struggled and is the 19th position with an even par.
The second round action gets underway at 10.55 a.m. today. Berger and Ancer will play at 12.34 p.m. McIlroy and Simpson will tee off at 12.23 p.m.
The tournament wraps up on Sunday, December 5.