Round 1 of RBC Heritage draws large crowd on Hilton Head Island

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - Thursday, play officially got underway on Hilton Head Island for the 51st Annual RBC Heritage.

Quite a crowd gathered for round one at the Harbour Town Golf Links.

“Today is a lot busier than I’ve seen in the past few years. I think the nice weather has helped and the fact that we could get rain tomorrow, it could be a big draw for people to come see their favorite players," said fan, Joanne Schellgell.

“We enjoy the sunshine, the walking, everything," said fans, Manfred and Ursula Ziebis.

“We came down from Massachusetts to visit family, and then we all came over to see the tournament," said Todd and Owen Cheney.

Friday’s forecast played a factor in some fans deciding to take in the action on Thursday.

“Tomorrow, it’s supposed to rain, and Saturday and Sunday, we know it’s very crowded,” said the Ziebis.' “We wouldn’t come, and you see more on television than you would here as far as golf goes.”

“It’s not as crowded as it is usually Fridays or Saturdays, so it’s really a great day to come out and enjoy the nice weather and do some people watching,” Schellgell said.

Round one was dominated by players, who no offense to them, aren’t household names to the casual golf fan.

Shane Lowry is your clubhouse leader at -6. There’s a large group within two shots of the Irishman, but none of the major names are among them. Regardless of who it is that brought the massive crowds out, it was guys like Lowry who put on the best show.

“To be honest, I felt like I missed a couple of changes in the middle of the round, but I just stayed patient and kept going,” Lowry said. “I knew that if I hit good tee shots, my iron play felt good and I could make birdies, so it was nice to have that feeling.”

“I feel great,” Trey Mullinax, T2 (-5) after the first round. “I played really, really well. It’s a hard golf course, but I was able to control my game pretty well today, so that was exciting. I feel like I drove the ball pretty well, gave myself a lot of good positions, so I was able to take advantage of that, make good approaches, and hit the putts.”

It’s not that the biggest names in the field played poorly. Dustin Johnson is -3 - three shots back, for instance. Most of those guys will play Friday morning as well, so there will likely be chances for them to score.

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