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Co-leaders Aaron Wise, Alex Noren far from content after first round at 2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open

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HOUSTON. Judging by the behavior of Aaron Wise after opening 18 holes, one would think that he did poorly in the first round of the Cadence Bank Houston Open 2022.

He was less than thrilled with his round at the Memorial Park golf course on Thursday, which was a brilliant 5 under 65 game with no ghosts to take the lead after the morning wave. Wise, whose only PGA Tour win came in Texas at the 2017 AT&T Byron Nelson, is tied for first place with Alex Noren.

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“I’ve just been in a weird state with my game where I’ve obviously played well enough to score good points, but just a couple of shots in a round upset me,” Wise said. “Maybe it’s also just because it’s the end of the season and I’ve played too much golf, which is just a kind of golf.

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“I have time to clean things up before tomorrow’s round and hopefully play a little more solidly, although I would take the bill again if you gave it to me.”

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Wise’s highlight was holes #3–6 when he fixed four birdies in a row and moved down 5. He started at number 10, paring seven to birdie on the 17th par 3.

“I had some great saves to shoot without a scarecrow,” Wise said. “Sometimes you hit no ghosts and hit 18 greens and it was just an easy round. There was no scarecrow on the card today, but there was no stress-free feeling.”

For Noren, his round began and ended the same way: with a birdie. He also started on the 10th hole, where he hit his six-foot approach to get a lap on the scoresheet. He then had four birdies on five holes to start his second nine from the scarecrow on the first, and Noren capitalized on his day with a great tee shot on the ninth par-3, drilling an eight-foot birdie to get to the 5 below.

2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open
2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open

Alex Noren hits the 13th green during the first round of the Cadence Bank Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course on November 10, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Logan Riley/Getty Images)

Noren, who has 11 international wins but none on the PGA Tour, also didn’t feel his best going into the week.

“I’m a little nervous about today,” Noren said. “I didn’t feel very good in training, but I found something and the irons became much better. So yeah, good.”

The duo are one shot ahead of David Lipsky, who hit 4 of 66. Lipsky had five birdies and no ghosts to go out of 30, but continued to scare on the 10th hole before making eight straight pairs to finish his round. He also did not win the Tour.

“Used the bird holes on the front nine and held pretty well on the back nine,” Lipsky said. “I think there was a stretch where I missed like three greens in a row, hitting them all up and down.”

There’s a big under 3 group including Justin Rose and Zecheng Doe who took first place in the Korn Ferry Tour standings to earn their PGA Tour card this summer.

Scotty Scheffler, the world’s No. 2 golfer and entry favorite, has hit three of the last eight holes and finished with a tied par of 70.

However, everyone is chasing Noren and Wise. And on a course with 13 and 10 fewer wins at 72 holes, a quick start is critical to weekend success.

“I really want to get my next win,” Wise said. “I have one, but now it feels like it was an eternity ago. It’s one of those things where you just have to be patient. Like, I can’t control if I go out and win this tournament, right? I can only control how good a shot I’m going to make, how good a shot I’m going to make. So I’ll just focus on that and then at the end of the week I’ll just count them and see how it ends up.”

The story originally appeared on GolfWeek.


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