Amateur Cole Hammer, playing in his hometown, trails by 3
8: Number of strokes under par that Americans Austin Cook and Talor Gooch shot Thursday to share the first-round lead at the PGA Tour’s Houston Open. Cook raced to a 7-under 29 on the front nine at Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas, before cooling off on the back side to complete a bogey-free 64. Gooch offset two bogeys with 10 birdies. Cook, 28, the 2017 RSM Classic winner, is looking for his second Tour victory; Gooch, 27, is seeking his first title on Tour. Austria’s Sepp Straka stood alone in third place at 65. American Russell Henley, the 2017 Houston winner, was among three players tied for fourth place at 66. Amateur Cole Hammer, a Houston native and sophomore at the University of Texas who is competing on a sponsor exemption, made eight birdies in shooting 67 (scores).
64: Score for Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen, who led after the first round of the European Tour’s Italian Open at Olgiata Golf Club in Rome. Pulkkanen, 29, who led the 2017 Challenge Tour, shot a bogey-free 7-under round in search of his first victory on the tour. Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini stood second, one stroke back. England’s Justin Rose was among five players tied for third at 66 (scores).
72: Number of players who will advance to the Champions Tour’s three-tournament finals after this week’s SAS Championship, which begins today at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C. (tee times). The top 72 on the 50-and-older tour’s money list will qualify for the Charles Schwab Cup playoffs, which begin with the Dominion Energy Charity Classic on Oct. 18-20 at the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond.