November 30, 2023

Setting the pace

The 2023 Hero World Challenge got underway at Albany, Bahamas at 10:46 a.m. Thursday when Brian Harman hit the tournament’s opening tee shot. The defending Open Championship winner earned an invite to Albany thanks in part to his major victory in July.

Harman wasted no time setting the pace during the first round at Albany. On the strength of back-to-back-to-back birdies on the 13th, 14th and 15th holes, Harman carded an opening round 67 (-5) and sits atop the leaderboard tied with Tony Finau.

Harman, Finau and the rest of the field had to contend with not only a challenging Albany layout, but some strong wind during Thursday’s opening round.

“I think it’s a really tough golf course,” Harman said following his round. “The wind was blowing. I got out of position a few times, made some really nice up-and-downs.”

Finau made four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the back nine to carry him into a share of the first-round lead.

“That was a nice start,” Finau said. “I made some crucial par saves, I would say. I made a lot of six, seven footers whether it was after a chip or a bad first putt. That just kind of kept the momentum throughout the round. I hit it nice enough to score, and just happy I was able to capitalize with some of those short putts.”

Two-time defending champion Viktor Hovland is one1-over after the first round. For the first time since April, Tiger Woods competed on the PGA TOUR. The tournament host and five-time tournament champion is 3-over after 18 holes.

Round 2 of the 2023 Hero World Challenge gets underway Friday at 10:51 a.m. TV coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. on GOLF Channel.