GREENSBORO — Heading into Thursday’s opening round of the Wyndham Championship, William McGirt knew there would be some rust.
The Fairmont native just didn’t expect as much as he saw en route to posting an even-par 70 at Sedgefield Country Club.
“I hit it terrible,” McGirt told The Robesonian. “I didn’t play a single hole for two weeks and I only hit balls one day so I couldn’t expect a lot out of it.
“I’m just trying to get back into it and knock the rust off this week. I was hoping there wasn’t this much rust, but there’s a lot to knock off.”
With three bogeys and three birdies, McGirt was up-and-down throughout the day, struggling off the tee box but saving some holes with his short game and putter.
“Thank God for the wedge and putter,” he said. “All in all, not terrible. I didn’t shoot myself out of it.”
McGirt sits in a tie for 75th, with some work to do in order to make the cut. Rafa Cabrera Bello and Kevin Na are tied for the lead at -7. Luke Donald, Brandt Snedeker, Derek Fathauer, Danny Lee and Peter Malnati sit two shots back after posting 65. Donald made a hole-in-one on the 16th. Rickie Fowler birdied his last two holes for a 67.
A pair of McGirt’s bogeys came on par 3s, with the first coming on No. 12 — the result of a tough downhill chip shot — and the other on No. 7, where he nearly found the hazard. He followed by chipping across the green, but ended up making a testy bogey putt to prevent further damage. He bounced back with a birdie on the par-4 eighth hole to get back to even par.
A pair of birdies on his first nine holes at Nos. 13 and 15 got McGirt into red figures, but a bogey on No. 1 pushed him back to even.
Despite the struggles, McGirt is still hopeful for a bounce-back performance in the second round.
“I still have a chance to make the cut,” he said. “(If I) play a couple of good rounds, maybe I can sneak into the top 20. Based on today’s scores, I’ll have to go crazy low the next three days to have a chance (at winning).
“But stranger things have happened. I’ve had it click overnight before, so we’ll see.”
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.