The Watson Challenge: Davis Cooper and Charlie Hillier lead after round one
Watson Cup participants (Central Links Golf Photo)
Watson Cup participants (Central Links Golf Photo)

The highly anticipated Watson Challenge teed off Thursday morning at Mission Hills Country Club. The field, comprising 51 top-notch golfers, is vying to claim the title of the best golfer in Kansas City. 

Setting the pace at an impressive 2-under 68 were Davis Cooper and Charlie Hillier. Cooper, the 2022 Challenge Champion, is determined to reclaim his title, while Hillier, with a solid performance on the front nine, is looking to make his mark in the tournament.

Cooper started strong, making birdie the first hole. The most challenging part of his round today was judging the wind. Cooper and his caddying worked to judge the wind to determine what type of shots he needed to hit. Dealing with the wind prevented him from hitting the ball as well as he would have liked; however, he was still happy with his final score. 

Hillier carded a thirty-two on the front nine, three-under-par. He stayed consistent even with the tricky pin locations on the course today. Leading into the second round, “I am looking forward to getting the putter going,” Hillier said. The difficult pin locations did not cause him to be too unhappy with his putting after his first round. 

Andy Spencer, Julian Taylor, and Jackson Forth shot 1-under 69 to finish tied after their first round. They are both looking forward to their second round, continuing to strike the ball well and miss in the right places. 

Players to watch going into Friday’s round include Joseph Winslow, who shot an even-par 70. Connor Knabe, Michael McGee, and Alex Springer are all tied for fifth place after shooting 1-over 71.

Six players are T10 at 2-under.

Round two begins at 8:00 AM Friday.

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ABOUT THE The Watson Challenge

The Watson Challenge, founded in 2007, is the vision of Tom Watson who came to the Kansas City Golf Association with the purpose of determining the best player in the greater Kansas City golf community while raising money for area charities. The Watson Challenge has a field of 48 players, which is comprised of the best professionals and amateurs living in the greater Kansas City golf community.

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