Of all the Korn Ferry Tour graduates in the field this week at The Greenbrier, Robby Shelton was probably not the one many had pegged to be at or near the top of the leader board after Day 1. Surely it’d be Viktor Hovland or Maverick McNealy or Scott Harrington, whose inspiring story makes him an impossible guy not to root for.
And yet it’s Shelton, a 24-year-old former standout at Alabama, who stands alone in West Virginia, as he opened with an eight-under 62 on the Old White TPC course. Shelton, a member of the 2015 Walker Cup team, won twice last season on the Korn Ferry Tour, which earned him a PGA Tour membership as he finished third on the money list at season’s end. This week marks just his 15th start on the big tour, and his first since the 2017 RBC Canadian Open.
As for Harrington, he’s part of a trio tied for second following his first round 64. Defending champion Kevin Na and another Korn Ferry Tour graduate, Mark Hubbard, also shot 64s.
Joaquin Niemann, Jimmy Walker and Harold Varner III are among a group at five under, three off Shelton’s lead. Morgan Hoffmann, who has missed seven of his last 10 cuts on tour and has not recorded a top 10 finish since February of 2017, is at four under.
Bryson DeChambeau, the highest ranked player in the field, shot a two-under 68.