Rickie Fowler, the last man in the FedEx St. Jude Championship, shoots 65

Fowler, who led the PGA TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting five years ago and was 13th in that stat in 2019, gained just 0.2 strokes on the greens Thursday, though. A 12-footer was the longest putt he made all day. He had a new putter in the bag this week, a Scotty Cameron Newport Plus that is slightly wider than the traditional Newport head. It was the latest putter switch for Fowler, who has cycled through several flatsticks this season. The most recent switch came two weeks ago, when he switched back to a Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS that had come from a set of heads once reserved for Tiger Woods. Fowler first used the club in 2014.

“There was a lot of good out there today. Actually, a lot of really good putts,” Fowler said. “Left a couple short, but other than that, some of it was just a little off on read.”

The margins are small on the PGA TOUR. Fowler knows that as well as anyone this week.


NOTES: FedExCup leader Scottie Scheffler played his first five holes in 4 over Thursday, but made three birdies and no bogeys the rest of the way to shoot 71. He also lost 4.5 strokes on the greens. He’s still projected to stay atop the FedExCup standings. … Si Woo Kim was just 21 when he made his TOUR Championship debut in 2016. He hasn’t been back to East Lake since, however. Last year was his closest call, as he finished 34th in the FedExCup. One week after withdrawing from the Wyndham Championship, Kim shot 62 in the first round at TPC Southwind. A victory would ensure his return to East Lake and bolster his Presidents Cup case. He shot 28 on the back nine, including an eagle on the par-4 18th, after needing 13 strokes to navigate just TPC Southwind’s 11th hole in his previous round at TPC Southwind, the final round of the 2021 World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. … Si Woo Kim isn’t the only player off to a strong start after withdrawing last week. Jason Day had a fever last week. Now he’s off to a hot start, shooting a 65 that has him projected to jump 40 spots in the FedExCup standings, from No. 113 to 73.


BMW BUBBLE WATCH

Here are the players projected to move inside the top 70 of the FedExCup after the first round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship and advance to next week’s BMW Championship at Wilmington (Del.) Country Club:

PROJECTED IN

Adam Scott (No. 77, projected to No. 59): Scott closed his front nine with four consecutive birdies and bounced back from a double at the par-3 14th with back-to-back birdies to shoot 66 and sit in a tie for 18th .

Lee Hodges (No. 99, projected to No. 64): The rookie made just one bogey in his first-round 65 that has him in a tie for eighth place.

Michael Thompson (No. 103, projected to No. 68): He didn’t miss a putt inside 20 feet in his first-round 65, gaining 3.2 strokes on the greens.

James Hahn (No. 108, projected to No. 69): Late entrant, who clinched his Playoffs spot in late July, shot 65 to start Playoffs on a strong note.

PROJECTED OUT

Anirban Lahiric (No. 63, projected to No. 74): PLAYERS runner-up made just two birdies in his first-round 71.

John Huh (No. 67, projected to No. 76): A week after finishing runner-up at Wyndham to jump up the standings, Huh shot 73.

Brendon Todd (No. 68, projected to No. 78): A first-round 69 has him on the cut line entering the second round.

Lanto Griffin (No. 69, projected to No. 82): He is not playing this week after a recent back surgery.

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