POTOMAC, Md. (WDVM) – The first day of the Wells Fargo Championship at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm brought plenty of excitement and most importantly, brought PGA golf back to the Washington, D.C. area for the first time in four years.
Rory McIlroy draws crowds, has solid day
As expected, Rory McIlroy was the main event in the morning, attracting large crowds. The 33-year-old from Northern Ireland posted a double bogey on the fourth hole, but made up for it with seven birdies, finishing the day tied for 17th at three under par, four strokes back of the lead.
“I said to myself walking off the green, if I could just get back to three under for the day by the end of the day after that, I’d be pretty happy,” McIlroy said. “I’m still pretty happy with 67, could’ve been a 65 or a 64, but it’s still a good start.”
Montgomery County native Denny McCarthy shines
With friends and family looking on, Montgomery County native Denny McCarthy was an early leader, enjoying a solid day of golf, earning six birdies to just one bogey. The Georgetown Prep and University of Virginia graduate finished the day five under and was tied for the lead when he finished. After day one, he sits in third place, two strokes back from the lead.
“I knew I was up at the top, it felt like a Sunday a little bit honestly and I think that’s only a good thing, I felt really comfortable,” McCarthy told WDVM. “So you know if I’m in that spot on Sunday, I got a little taste of it today honestly, there was a decent amount of people following, I could feel the energy and I think that’s only going to bode well for me.”
Jason Day leads the way
Australian golfer Jason Day looks like the man to beat after one round. Day finished at seven under in first place. Day won the Wells Fargo Championship in 2018. Joel Dahmen is in second place at six under. In third place, Paul Barjon, Matthew Wolff, Aaron Rai and Callum Tarren are tied with McCarthy at five under. Nine golfers, including Ricky Fowler, are tied for eighth at four under.
Howard’s Gregory Odom Jr. makes PGA debut
21-year-old Howard University senior Gregory Odom Jr. made his PGA debut Thursday as an amateur on a sponsor exemption. Competing in front of supporters from Howard and others, Odom finished at seven over. He’ll be back in action on day two.
“I loved it. Everybody came out here to support me. All I can say is thank you and I enjoyed it out here,” Odom said. “That’s what I’m here for is to represent and be a model so other kids can look up to me and you know do better than me.’
Fans excited to see golf back in D.C. area
On a day that featured what will likely be the best weather of the Wells Fargo Championship, fans flocked to see some of the big names in golf take the course at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.
“You can be just a rope and three feet away from your favorite superstars and watch them do their thing,” Maryland resident Ryan Revie said.
Fans young and old attended, Revie’s young son was given a ball on the course. Others attended to see a specific name, McIlroy was the most popular.
“My wife is a huge Rory McIlroy fan so that was the main driver,” Clarksburg native Bob Sabatelli said.
Many fans expressed a hope that an annual golf tournament will return to the Washington, D.C. metro area.
“We’ve been deprived of golf tournaments and there’s a huge demand,” Bethesda native Joel Vardon said. “I would say fanship around golf in this community.”