Tom Hoge is relieved to be back in action on the PGA Tour and is off to a solid start with a clear hand and the scores that go with it. It was only last week at Greenbriar that Hoge finished in the runner up spot behind Joaquín Niemann and it was his best finish of his PGA Tour career,
Now at the Sanderson Farms Championship, Tom Hoge shot 8-under 64 on the opening day to lead the pack by one shot after closing with a 45-foot birdie on Thursday. Seamus Power, Cameron Percy and Robert Streb are close behind at 7-under par while Zac Blair, Emiliano Grillo, Zach Johnson, Mark Anderson, An Byeong-hun and J. T. Poston sit tied at 5- under par.
After the opening round saw thunderstorms bring play to a halt for three hours before eventually suspending the first round until Friday, Hoge hopes to continue his push and widen the gap. Hoge, who at 30, has yet to win a PGA event in 134 starts and only made it once to the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Those struggles have seen the North Carolina native have to earn back his card in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. Punters hoping to follow Hoge on Friday once play resumes will find bet365 showing Hoge with the fourth best odds to win outright at +1600. Commenting on his return, Hoge said,
“There was so much pressure there for a few weeks to play well and get back out here on the PGA Tour. Once you get that done, it frees you up a little bit. At the same time, you know you played well, so just kind of keep it rolling.”
After being off for three weeks, Hoge began the new season by scoring in the 60’s in all four rounds at Greenbriar and was near the top before Joaquín Niemann edged ahead. However, that elevated the pressure as it was his first time finishing as runner up on the PGA tour.
This week it seems he is well on his way having only failed to make four greens and twice pulled off big puts to save par. Hoge managed to sink a six footer on the opening hole and a 12 footer on the third, His crowning moment, however, was a 45 foot putt that found its mark.
Usually, the Sanderson Farms Championship shares the stage with other PGA events, but this year it is not. That is good news for Hoge, for if he should earn his first PGA victory at Sanderson, he will earn an invite to the Masters.
This season so far has been one of Hoge’s quickest to date, and from past experience, he understands the value that provides. That experience was gained two years ago after a seventh place finish in Vegas followed by making the finals in Honolulu, and it was the only year he managed to keep his PGA card.