First round of the CJ CUP tees off at Congaree

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 5:28 PM EDT
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JASPER COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - You really couldn’t have asked for a better day for the first round of the CJ CUP in South Carolina. It warmed up as the day went on and there was not a cloud in the sky Thursday.

This is exactly what tournament organizers had in mind when they announced their intentions to play this tournament at Congaree earlier this year.

This is the fourth course at which the CJ CUP has been played in the last six years due to COVID restrictions in South Korea.

Tournament director Andre Silva says they’ve been very happy to call Congaree and the Lowcountry home this week.

“We started with this beautiful canvas which is the Congaree Golf Club. Having the ability to host this golf tournament here makes things a lot easier. It’s hard to go wrong when you get 15 of the top 20 players in the world. The week has been tremendous so far,” Silva said.

Silva was asked what the future holds for the CJ CUP if Congaree might be a more permanent home. He said they’re focused on this year, and they’ll see what happens down the line.

Leaderboard after day one

Defending CJ CUP champion, Rory McIlroy fired a bogey-free round of 65 to finish in a group at 5-under.

“I drove the ball well today. I took advantage of the Par 5s. So yeah, if I can continue to drive it like that over the next few days, I’ll be in a good spot,” McIlroy said.

McIlroy was also with the biggest gallery of the day, playing with Rickie Fowler and Tom Kim.

He and everybody else in the field are looking up at a pair right now. Gary Woodland and Trey Mullinax, who carded six under 61s to share the lead.

“You can hit any shot you want. You don’t have to hit the same shot over and over, which is really fun about this golf course and kind of brings an artistic feel to it,” Mullinax said.

Mullinax and Woodland will see how the course plays in the afternoon in round two on Friday - going off in back-to-back groups just after noon.