Harry Hall, a PGA Tour rookie from England, needed only 22 putts, the last one an 8-foot birdie, for an 8-under 62 that gave him a three-shot lead over Harris English at the PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Challenge on Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas.
Along with his eight birdies, Hall made par putts of 15 and 30 feet at Colonial.
Tom Hoge, who played his college golf at TCU and now makes Fort Worth his home, holed out for eagle from the seventh fairway on his way to a 66.
Scottie Scheffler, who returned to No. 1 in the world with his tie for second at the PGA Championship, and defending champion Sam Burns were in the large group at 67. Jordan Spieth didn’t make his lone birdie until the eighth hole and opened with a 72.
Hall changed up his routine this week by playing 36 holes of practice at Colonial — a Monday pro-am and then nine holes on Tuesday and Wednesday. That helps, along with his putter.
“Maybe that’s the key, just to see a bit more of the course than I have done in the past,” Hall said. “I didn’t do too much different. I kind of just made things a little bit more simple.”
He missed seven greens and played those holes in 1 under, the biggest a chip-in for birdie from about 80 feet on the 12th hole.
“I was really in the moment out there and determined to play some good golf,” Hall said. “The 7 out of 7 scrambles doesn’t really surprise me because that’s the best part of my game, but the way I hit the ball the first two-thirds of that round was pretty special.”
Hoge, who was raised in North Dakota, is so passionate about his Horned Frogs that he flew from Maui to Los Angeles to watch TCU in the college football champions game (a blowout loss to Georgia) and then flew back to Hawaii for the Sony Open.
He got off to a decent start until his round stalled. It came to life on No. 6 when his approach settled inches away from the cup. And then on the seventh, he hit 8-iron from 157 yards straight into the cup for an eagle.
It’s just the start he needed after missing the cut at Colonial the last three times.
“The last few years, I really struggled on Thursday then kind of fought back on Friday to try to make the cut,” Hoge said. “It was certainly a focus this year to try to get off to a good start, try to be a little more patient and letting the round come to me. Making a few birdies off the bat was really nice.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.