Grayson Murray slides into contention with 65 at the Stadium Course
Via The Desert Sun
Grayson Murray was not buying the argument that the best round of the Stadium Course at PGA West on Thursday made him the true leader of the CareerBuilder Challenge, even if the actual top score was three shots better at the easier La Quinta Country Club.
“No, because Jon Rahm is on top, my old college teammate,” Murray said. “He’s No. 3 in the world for a reason, so he will continue to play well. No course is too tough for him.”
Rahm’s 10-under 62 may lead the raw scoring for the CareerBuilder after the first round, but Murray’s 65 was the lowest round Thursday by two shots on the toughest course in the rotation.
A 5-under 31 on the back nine of the Stadium Course, Murray’s first nine of the day, featured four birdies in a row to end the nine. The former Arizona State star added three birdies and a single bogey on the front nine for the 67, a round that was better than Murray’s 69 or 71 on the course in two rounds last year as he finished 12th in the event in his desert debut.
“I definitely played this the worst of the three last year,” Murray said of the Stadium Course. “And I still had a really good finish last year. I’m comfortable on the other two courses. Obviously, I’m more comfortable on the Stadium this year.”
But with Rahm ahead of him as well as seven other players who shot better than 65, Murray knows it will take three more good rounds to win his second PGA Tour event. The first came in the 2017 Barbasol Championship, a year after he won an event on the Web.com Tour.
“I just have to keep the pedal down,” Murray said. “I don’t know how the weather is supposed to be the next few days, but if it is like today it’s just going to be a shootout all week. No wind hopefully and get that putter hot like I did today, and I think I can make a run for it the next few days.”
The demands of the Stadium Course could have taken their toll on Murray when he pulled a 4-iron second shot into the 20-foot deep bunker to the left of the par-5 16th hole. But Murray and his caddie decided to have a little fun with the moment.
“I looked down. I was like, man, I can’t walk down it,” Murray said. “They’ve got like a little ramp you can walk down, but my caddie was like, dude, just slide down. I was like, no way.”
Murray thought about it again, then sat down at the top of the hill and slid down the embankment covered in dormant Bermuda grass.
To cap the moment, Murray hit his bunker shot to just two feet from the cup for a tap-in birdie-4.
“It’s nice when you can see the top of the flagstick from down there,” he said. “I could barely see it, but when you are down there usually you can’t see the pin, so that makes that shot really tough.”
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