Charles Howell III grabs first-round lead at Sea Island

Rex Christensen
November 18, 2018

Charles Howell bundled up and made birdies Thursday for an 8-under 64 that gave him a two-shot lead in the first round of the RSM Classic.

Howell is one of 13 players in the top 15 that started the PGA Tour event on the Plantation Course.

In 2017, Austin Cook held off veterans Brian Gay, Chris Kirk, Kevin Kisner and Brian Harman and closed with a 3-under 67 for a four-stroke victory over J.J. Spaun.

"I think sometimes playing these hard conditions it forces you to stay a bit more present, it forces you to stay kind of in the moment a bit", he said.

Howell moves over on Friday to the Seaside Course, which played 1.14 strokes over par on Thursday - compared to a 1-under-par average on the Plantation Course, which is more sheltered from the winds and is historically the easier of the two layouts used for the tournament.

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He finished by two-putting for birdie on the 16th from about 20 feet, and birdieing on the par-5 18th.

Cook confirmed that the leaders had benefitted from playing the Plantation course.

"There's plenty of golf left", he said.

Olson had two separate streaks of four consecutive birdies on what became an ideal day for scoring at Tiburon Golf Club. Lexi Thompson had five birdies and an eagle to card a 7-under 65, enhancing her bid for what would be her first and only win of 2018.

Each American fired a bogey-free six-under par 66 on the Plantation course at Sea Island, Georgia, in a rematch of last year's title fight, which saw Cook collect his first and thus far only PGA triumph by four shots over Spaun.

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