Rocket Mortgage Classic: Mixed bag for Arjun Atwal at 2-under 70

Detroit (Michigan), July 3

Returning to competitive golf after four months, India’s Arjun Atwal opened his campaign at the Rocket Mortgage Classic with a round of 2-under 70.

Atwal was tied-68th and five shots behind Doc Redman, Scott Stallings and Kevin Kisner, who shot 7-under 65 each to share the lead.

Six others carded 66 each at the Detroit Golf Club on Thursday.

Atwal, who said the course suited his eye, had a birdie chance on the first from under seven-and-a-half feet, but missed and then on second, he missed a par putt from six-and-a-half feet after going into the rough from the tee.

He followed with a birdie from 11 feet on the fourth, holed a testy par from 13 feet on the sixth before coming out well from bunker to get a birdie on the seventh and turned in 1-under.

On the back nine, he holed from 21 feet on 10th for a birdie, missed from inside three feet for par on the 11th and then again rolled in a birdie from 12 feet as he continued to ride the roller-coaster.

He missed birdie from inside six feet on the 14th and missed par from just over five feet on the 18th.

“But I had a great hole out from a bunker almost 40 feet away for a birdie on the Par-3 15th. That bunker hole-out was pretty special as I couldn’t see the green or see the ball go in,” said Atwal.

“Sure I left a lot of shots, missed some small ones, but also made a few long putts. I guess a bit of rust. But I will take this considering how long I have not played.”

On a quiet morning and easy scoring conditions, Redman shot a 7-under 65 to share the first-round lead with Scott Stallings and Kevin Kisner.

The 22-year-old Redman was tied-11th last week with a final round 63 at the Travelers Championship and tied-21st earlier at RBC Heritage.

Redman ended with four successive birdies and seven in the last eight holes. Stallings, tied-6th last week, birdied his last two holes and three of four, while Kisner had a bogey-free round.

Bryson DeChambeau, the only player with top-10 finishes in each of the last three tournaments since Return of Golf, had an action-packed 66 with an eagle, eight birdies and four bogeys.

Peter Malnati, Emiliano Grillo, Chase Seiffert, JJ Spaun, Matt Wallace and Chris Stroud matched DeChambeau at 66.

Rickie Fowler, who missed the cut in the two tournaments he has played since the restart, was among the players at 65. Defending champion Nate Lashley, shot 1-under 71 to be tied-87th. PTI

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