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2024 Memorial Tournament features stacked leaderboard after 1st round

2024 Memorial Tournament features stacked leaderboard after 1st round

DUBLIN, Ohio — When the PGA Tour designated this year’s Memorial Tournament as a signature event with a smaller field, Thursday’s leaderboard was probably what it sought.

Only 73 players competed at Muirfield Village Golf Club, about 50 fewer than in the past. The cream of the crop rose to the top right away.

Sure, first-round leader Adam Hadwin at 6-under 66 isn’t a huge name, but most of the ones just below him have to make Jack Nicklaus and Memorial spectators quite happy.

Scottie Scheffler, the world’s No. 1 player, is one shot back.

The group at 4-under is loaded. Collin Morikawa is a two-time major champion who won the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village during the pandemic in 2020. Xander Schauffele, the No. 2-ranked golfer, won the PGA Championship last month. Ludvig Aberg, only 24 years old, already ranks sixth in the world rankings.

Defending Memorial champion Viktor Hovland, the No. 5 player, is among the players at 3-under.

Thursday leaderboards frequently feature players who don’t have the staying power to remain in contention for four days. Last year’s first-round leader, Davis Riley, finished tied for 54th. (Riley did win the Charles Schwab Challenge last month.) Among others at the top were journeymen such as Matt Wallace, Mark Hubbard, Austin Eckroat and David Lipsky.

“I think that’s exactly what we were trying to do as a tour,” Schauffele said of Thursday’s stacked leaderboard. “It’s the product we want to put out. When you look up at that board, you want to see everyone’s name as high up there as possible hashing it out on Sunday. That’s what people want to see, and that’s what we want to give ’em.”

Memorial: Best merchandise | Leaderboard | Photos

It has been a trying time for professional golf. The fracture caused by the emergence of the LIV tour means that past Memorial winners like Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau aren’t in Dublin this week. TV ratings for the PGA Tour have declined significantly this year.

A leaderboard like Thursday’s, if it persists through the weekend, should get more eyes on the Memorial and excite spectators at Muirfield Village.

“It’s nice seeing some good names up on the leaderboard,” Scheffler said. “I love being out here competing. I’m sure it’s shaping up to be another great tournament here in Ohio.”

The top players took different paths to their superb rounds. Scheffler had only one bogey, which came on the par-5…

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