- - Thursday, June 29, 2017

David Lingmerth, who won a Web.com Tour event at TPC Potomac in 2012, shot a 5-under 65 Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Quicken Loans National Thursday.

One stroke back was a group of six that included former Quicken Loans National winner Troy Merritt, Marc Leishman, Johnson Wagner, Sung Kang, Nick Taylor and Daniel Summerhays.

Lingmerth began his round with a birdie on the difficult par 5 10th and five birdies on his front nine. Lingmerth hit 12/14 fairways Thursday, tied for most in the field.

“I was able to hit a lot of fairways today which is key if you want to make some birdies,” Lingmerth said. “I putted quite well as well. Those are the two main things out here, hit a lot of fairways and give yourself some chances and hopefully the putts will go in.”

Merritt is coming off his best finish of the season last week with a T8 finish at the Travelers Championship. That success carried over to Thursday.

“Very pleased [with my round],” Merritt said. “The name of the game here before we started was find the fairway, and today we did that and we found 10 fairways. Two of the fairways we missed were just in the first cut and was able to get a pitching wedge and a lob wedge on them.”

Wagner, who played his college golf at Virginia Tech, had a similarly good start last week, posting a 6-under par first round, but struggled the final three days.

“Well, last week I started 6 under par, but it was kind of smoke and mirrors,” Wagner said. “I was nervous the whole next three days because I was driving the ball all over the place. Today I felt really calm, really comfortable.”

Leishman won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but hasn’t posted a top-ten finish since. He made three straight birdies on holes 13, 14, and 15 en route to a 66.

“I played well. It’s a tough start when you tee off on 10. It’s a tough tee shot on 10 and a tough tee shot on 11,” Leishman said. “It’s a really good golf course. If you play well you can make birdies, but if you’re a little bit off it’s really punishing. It was nice today that my short game was there when I did miss a shot.”

Sung Kang made two birdies on the front nine to go out in 33, and signed for a 66 after a colorful back nine that included four birdies and two bogeys.

“I played pretty solid today. I hit some good iron shots and some pretty good tee balls. I think the tee ball is the key out here. I had a couple three putts but still made a lot of putts,” Kang said.

Rickie Fowler — the highest ranked player in the field at No. 9 — was 3-over after two holes but bounced back nicely to card an even par 70.

“It was a good round after the start. It isn’t playing easy out there, especially you have to drive it in the fairway. I feel like I drove it well other than the start and a couple holes coming in. Yeah, not a bad start,” Fowler said.

Defending champion and local fan favorite Billy Hurley III made four bogeys on the front nine — he began the day on number 10 — and signed for a 3-over par 73.

The event, best known for its association with Tiger Woods, is missing the 14-time major champion’s star power as he is out, undergoing treatment to help manage his pain medication after he was arrested for DUI last month. Woods has won this event twice — first in 2009 and again in 2012 — but he will not tee it up this week after undergoing back surgery in April. Patrick Reed, ranked 17th in the Official World Golf Ranking, noted that even though the golfers are competing for titles, players on the PGA Tour are rooting for Woods return.

“We wish him all the best and we want him out here,” Reed said. “Every one of us, the players, people running golf tournaments, sponsors, everyone wants Tiger Woods out here. The more he can take care of himself, then we’re going to get the old Tiger back.”

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