Clemson greats Redman, Byrd off to solid starts at PGA Tour event in South Carolina

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News and notes heading into Friday’s round of the Palmetto Championship at Congaree.

PGA Tour scores, leaders

Chesson Hadley, Wes Roach are atop the PGA Tour event leaderboard heading into Friday at 7-under par. Behind them at 6-under are Erik van Rooyen, Doc Redman, Dustin Johnson. Tommy Fleetwood shot 3-under on Thursday, while Brooks Koepka was 3-over par.

TV, radio coverage: How to watch and listen

The Golf Channel will carry the Friday round from 3-6 p.m. and will begin coverage on Saturday and Sunday 1-3 p.m. CBS will provide Saturday and Sunday coverage 3-6 p.m. Sirius XM Radio and PGATour.com/live audio will have live coverage noon-6 p.m. on Friday and 1-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

PGA Tour Live will have featured groups 7 a.m to 6 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. In addition, featured hole coverage with be available 3-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

‘Awesome’ attitude lifts Doc Redman

Doc Redman started his round early, finished fast and secured a share of the early first-round lead in the Palmetto Championship at Congaree on Thursday.

Make him the perfect illustration to prove the “what-a-difference-a-day-makes” adage.

In sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open on Monday, he played 10 holes and withdrew. “I didn’t want to be there, so I left,” he said.

Thursday at Congaree Golf Club, he maneuvered through the back nine in 4-under-par 31 and posted a 6-under 65.

“I know I’ve been playing well and it’s a pretty cool golf course,” said Redman, a former Clemson All-American and the 2017 U.S. Amateur champion. “I was able to hit some good shots, make some putts and the next thing I know, it’s going well.”

He credited a day at home for a change in his mindset.

His attitude at Congaree “is awesome,” he said. “I spent Tuesday at home, then drove up Wednesday morning. That’s what I needed. ... I played well the last three days (at the Memorial, last week’s tournament) and I was just trying to keep that going into this week and play well.”

So far, so good.

Dustin Johnson honored by SC governor

Dustin Johnson’s day at Congaree Golf Club did not end after signing for a first-round 6-under-par 65 Thursday. He had a date with the governor.

Gov. Henry McMaster presented Johnson, a Columbia native, with the Order of the Palmetto, the state of South Carolina’s highest civilian honor.

“Dustin Johnson is making a real impact both on and off the course, and we’re proud to have him represent South Carolina on the world stage,” McMaster said. “His achievements on the course are well known — a No. 1 (world) ranking and some of the game’s most prestigious championships.

“But it’s his commitment to give back to young people in his home state that sets him apart. Through the Dustin Johnson Foundation, he’s removing barriers to the game and providing opportunities for young people that they wouldn’t otherwise have. We’re proud to honor him with the Order of the Palmetto for all that he has accomplished, and all that he will continue to accomplish, in golf and beyond.”

PGA Tour executive vice-president Ty Votaw listed Johnson’s excellence on the golf course that include victories in 24 PGA Tour tournaments and two major championships.

“While he has rightfully become a household name in this sport, Dustin is using that platform to impact the lives of young aspiring golfers in South Carolina through his foundation,” Votaw said.

Duane Parrish, director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, noted that Johnson “has earned a place among the greatest players in the history of the sport” and added a story to illustrate a side of Johnson the public rarely sees.

Recalling the fifth hole in Wednesday’s pro-am, Parrish reported that after the golfer struggled to escape the steep bunker, Johnson came to the rescue, spending several minutes explaining how to play the shot.

“I say today, ‘thank you, again, Dustin,’ ” Parrish said.

Johnson grew up in Irmo, helped Dutch Fork High win a state championship and developed into a world-class player at Coastal Carolina.

Jonathan Byrd looks to get into a groove

At 43 and playing on the low priority of past champions status, Jonathan Byrd made the most of only his 11th start of the season with a 3-under-par 68 Thursday in the Palmetto Championship at Congaree.

“I don’t get to play a whole lot (on the PGA Tour) and that makes it hard to get into a rhythm,” said Byrd, a Columbian who graduated from Spring Valley High and earned All-American honors at Clemson.

“I wasn’t really that sharp today,” he said, noting some sub-par shots received favorable bounces. “I hit some good irons, and I had good speed (on the greens.)”

He gained more than two shots on the field on the greens, thanks in large part to sinking a 14-footer for birdie on the par-3 seventh and making a 60-foot bomb on the par-4 eighth for another birdie.

“It’s just hard to play one week, then have three or four weeks off (from tournaments),” he said.

Byrd, who has five career Tour victories, expects to play in at least three more events before the playoffs begin in August.

What is the purse for SC PGA Tour event winner?

This is a full-fledged PGA Tour event that offers 500 FedEx points to the champion. The winner’s share of $7.3 million purse is $1.314 million. This is the third PGA Tour event contested in the state this season following the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head and PGA Championship at Kiawah and concludes what CBS announcer Jim Nantz dubbed “the South Carolina swing.”

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