McNealy, Saunders make early impressions at Barbasol Championship
16 Jul 2015
by Golfweek

see also: Maverick McNealy Rankings

Maverick McNealy makes a splash at Barbasol<br>(Golfweek photo)
Maverick McNealy makes a splash at Barbasol
(Golfweek photo)

One day after his grandfather, Arnold Palmer, bid an emotional goodbye to St. Andrews, Sam Saunders put together a clinical round to shoot 7-under 64 at the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship.

Saunders, 27, went bogey-free at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Grand National Course, capping his day by hitting a 14-footer for birdie at No. 9, his final hole of the day. The round was Saunders' third without a bogey on the PGA Tour and first since 2011.

Saunders held a one-shot lead over Jason Gore after the morning round of play in Auburn, Ala. Saunders hit 16 greens in regulation and his strokes gained-putting was 4.28 when he finished play.

Saunders, who hails from Orlando, Fla., but played his collegiate golf at Clemson, is searching for his first PGA Tour win. He lost in a playoff in March at the Puerto Rico Open after going 69-68 on the weekend.

Sitting two shots back after an opening 66 is Stanford's Maverick McNealy, who is playing on a sponsor exemption after beating out the other Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year Award recipients in June.

McNealy, the 2015 Haskins Award winner, made the cut at the Greenbrier Classic two weeks ago. He made five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on the day. McNealy's eagle came after he hit his 237-yard second shot at the par-5 fifth to 5 feet and made the putt.

Alabama rising junior Robby Shelton, another college standout, shot a 3-under 68.

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