Shriners: Monday qualifier Dylan Wu fires an opening-round 66

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Shriners: Monday qualifier Dylan Wu fires an opening-round 66

Golf

Shriners: Monday qualifier Dylan Wu fires an opening-round 66

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LAS VEGAS – After Monday qualifying with a 63 at Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder, Nevada, Dylan Wu shot a 5-under-par 66 in his PGA Tour debut Thursday in the first round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

He stood three shots out of the lead.

Wu, 23, torched the first nine holes he played on the PGA Tour, going out in 6-under 30 on the back nine of TPC Summerlin, a stretch that included four consecutive birdies starting at the 15th hole.

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After making the turn, Wu bogeyed the first hole but added two more birdies to offset two more bogeys. His day ended on a sour note as he three-putted from 44 feet on his final hole for a par, but Wu was hardly dejected.

“If you had told me I’d be 5 under in my first start on the PGA Tour, I’d have taken it,” Wu said. “I mean, the first tee, that was probably the most nervous I was. Once I hit a good tee shot, just tried to have fun out there. All I can do is just play my game and just give it all I got and just learn from it.

“Hopefully there is more PGA Tour events in the future. Just graduated from college year and a half ago, so I’m just trying to learn and just really believe in myself and just hope that’s good enough.”

And what did you learn in your first Tour start?

“I learned enough that I kind of surprised myself. I mean, that front nine, it’s nice when you putt on really good greens coming from a Monday qualifier. And when you see putts roll end over end and they find the center of the hole,” Wu said. “Just got on a good rhythm. Just had good vibes out there. Yeah, the most pressure was on the first hole, but I had a game plan going in. Just tried to play well. Just treat it like any other tournament. Good golf translates no matter where you’re playing, so that’s what I’ve kind of learned this year.”

Wu said it’s hard not to be star struck seeing the likes of world No. 1 Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson. But he was fortunate enough to play nine holes with Adam Scott and nine more with Collin Morikawa in a practice round, which helped settle his nerves.

Also helping him is his caddie, Sam Triplett, the son of former PGA Tour player Kirk Triplett, who just won on the PGA Tour Champions last week. Sam Triplett is also a former teammate of Wu’s at Northwestern University, where Wu established the second-lowest scoring average (71.76) in school history. Only former world No. 1 Luke Donald has a lower career average.

“I jokingly told him at dinner right before the Monday qualifier, if I Monday in, do you want to carry for me?” Wu said. “Called him right after I Monday’d in so he flew up here.”

Wu was all-Big Ten twice, winning the conference’s scoring title as a junior. He also earned an internship with the PGA Tour when he was a junior, attending the Northern Trust and taking a trip to the Tour’s headquarters in Florida to learn about the business side of the organization.

“I got to see people this week, a couple days ago I haven’t seen in two and a half years. It’s cool to see,” Wu said. “Like being on the outside of the ropes back then and seeing myself here, it’s kind of pretty cool.”

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