RBC Heritage Notebook: Cauley sets pace with eight-under 63
Bud Cauley 63 (-8)
Luke Donald 65 (-6)
Graham DeLaet 65 (-6)
Sam Saunders 65 (-6)
Ben Crane 66 (-5)
Russell Henley 66 (-5)
Danny Lee 66 (-5)
Shane Lowry 66 (-5)
Ian Poulter 66 (-5)
Webb Simpson 66 (-5)
About the leader
Floridian Bud Cauley’s 63 on Thursday is a stroke shy of his personal-best on Tour and the best opening round at the RBC Heritage since Peter Lonard’s 62 in 2005.
The 27-year old hit 12 of 14 fairways, 17 of 18 greens, putted 28 times and was one-for-one scrambling.
His 85.7 percent of fairways hit was tops in the field.
His 94.4 percent of greens in regulation was easily tops.
His proximity to hole mark of 17-feet-nine inches was No. 1.
He had the top strokes gained statistics – first off the tee, first in tee to green, second in approach to green and 13th in putting.
Cauley is currently ranked 95th in the FedExCup standings.
His top finish was 38th in 2012. Cauley has been riddled by injuries in the last few years.
This is Cauley’s fourth RBC Heritage and Thursday was easily his best round.
Cauley has placed third three times in 107 PGA Tour events. Those are his best finishes.
The last time he led after the first round was at the RSM Classic in 2012. He finished tied for 20th.
Two of the last three RBC Heritage winners have led after one round (Matt Kucher in 2014 and Branden Grace in 2016).
About the defending champion
Branden Grace (South Africa) is tied for 19th at three-under after his first round.
He is well above the prospective cut line. No defending champion has missed the cut since Davis Love lll in 1993.
Last year’s win was his first on Tour.
The 28-year old has only shot over par once in nine rounds at the RBC Heritage.
Where former RBC Heritage champions sit after Thursday
Branden Grace (2016) 68 (-3)
Jim Furyk (2015, 2010) 68 (-3)
Matt Kuchar (2014) 68 (-3)
Brian Gay (2009) 68 (-3)
Carl Petterson (2012) 69 (-2)
Brandt Snedeker (2011) 69 (-2)
Stewart Cink (2004, 2000) 70 (-1)
Aaron Baddeley (2006) 71 (E)
Graeme McDowell (2013) 72 (+1)
Boo Weekley (2008, 2007) 72 (+1)
Davis Love lll (2003, 1998, 1992, 1991, 1987) 72 (+1)
Webb Simpson closed his first round with five consecutive birdies (holes five-through-nine) en route to his mark of 66.
Bud Cauley, Graham DeLaet, Ben Crane, Sam Saunders, Russell Henley, Martin Laird, Nick Taylor and Steven Bowditch all had bogey-free rounds.
The morning scoring average was 70.47 and the afternoon scoring average was 70.18. Par is 71.
Luke Donald is the only player in the top 10 of the leaderboard who hit an eagle, doing so on the second hole – a par five.