Wesley Bryan shares Honda Classic lead after 64 in Round 1 at PGA National – CBSSports.com

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017

Wesley Bryan knows what it takes to win. He actually knows what it takes to win at PGA National, site of this week’s Honda Classic, even though he has never played in this tournament. Bryan qualified for the Web.com Tour in December 2015 at this very course in Q-school before going on to win three times on the Web.com Tour in 2016 to earn a place on the PGA Tour.

Last week Bryan contended at the Genesis Open before falling back a little bit on Sunday to finish T4. He carried the momentum into Thursday with a 6-under 64 in Round 1 at the Honda. He shares the lead with Cody Gribble.

“Just kind of picking up where I left off,” Bryan said after his round. “I was able to get the ball in the fairway with some of the tougher driving holes out there, and set up a couple good birdie opportunities. It was really nice getting back on the East Coast on some bermudagreens that I grew up on as a kid. Yeah, the putter was hot and able to roll a few in.”

Bryan finished in the top 20 in strokes gained putting but in the top 10 in strokes gained in approach shots. So while he putted well, you don’t normally shoot 64 without some immense ball-striking.

“I got into some pretty good form but out here on the golf course, I got through Q-School just about 14 months ago, and a place that I’m comfortable at and a golf course I know,” Bryan said. “They are few and far between out here — it’s my first run at all these tournaments out here. I love this place, love this golf course. Had a great day.

That he did. The winner of this tournament has only cracked double digits twice since 2007 so it stands to reason that Bryan only needs to shoot something like three 69s to win. That’s easier said than done when less than half the field broke par Thursday.

Q-school is not the only time Bryan has played this course, though.

“I know we did the ‘Big Break’ out here a year before that,” Bryan said of the Golf Channel reality show he and his brother George were on. “It was actually a great thing to get kicked off the show really early. It gave us a lot of time to return around some of these golf courses. Was able to get three or four rounds over here after getting eliminated, so that definitely made things a little bit easier.”

Experience is overrated at events like these anyway. A hot hand is underrated. Bryan has much more of the former than it seems given this is his first official time to play the event. But he has the latter in spades. A proven winner in the minor leagues, Bryan is looking for his first big boy win. With the way he’s playing right now, it seems like it is just a matter of time.

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