It’s been three years since Kyle Stanley last won on Tour, but through 18 holes in Puerto Rico, he’s on track to potentially nab his third victory.
Stanley, who started with three straight birdies, carded a career-high nine in total during an 8-under 64 Thursday to take the first-round lead at the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open, played opposite this week’s the WGC-Mexico Championship. He hit all 18 greens in regulation and dropped his only shot when he three-putted at the par-3 eighth.
The winner at the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open and 2017 Quicken Loans National, Stanley has made the FedExCup Playoffs each of the last four years, finishing 103rd in the points race last August.
Although it’s been a rough start to his 2019-20 campaign, with only four made cuts in 11 starts, Stanley could secure his Tour card for another two seasons with a win in Puerto Rico.
Two back in a six-way tie for second is Peter Uihlein, who just last week held the 54-hole lead at the Korn Ferry Tour’s LECOM Suncoast Classic before a final-round 74 dropped him into a tie for 20th.
Pre-tournament betting favorite Viktor Hovland sits four back in a tie for 14th after an opening 68.
While additional events do not offer invitations to the Masters, the winner nonetheless receives a two-year PGA Tour exemption, 300 FedExCup points, and an exemption into both The Players Championship and the PGA Championship.