How did players fare in the first round of events they won this season?

By T.J. Auclair
PGA.com
Connect with T.J.

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Friday, September 08, 2017 | 11:25 a.m.

It's often said on the PGA Tour, "you can't win a tournament on Thursday, but you can lose it."

So just how important is a good start on the PGA Tour? Consider this: In the 2016-17 PGA Tour season, there were only two occasions in which the eventual winner carded an opening round score that was over par... and one of those belonged to Justin Thomas. He began his victory march at Quail Hollow in the PGA Championship with a 2-over 73, so no surprise to see that a major was one of the three.

The other was Cody Gribble. The rookie had a 1-over 73 to begin the Sanderson Farms Championship, but bounced back in a big way with a 63 in the second round and went on to finish the tournament at 20 under.

RELATED: Here's why a PGA Tour pro shot a 123 in a single round

To further emphasize the importance of a solid start, there were only four times this season where a player who opened with an even-par first round went on to win.

Nine times in 42 events -- we did not include the Match Play, modified Stableford Barracuda Classic, or the Zurich Classic of New Orleans team event on this list -- a player who had/shared the lead in Round 1 went on to victory.

And what was the lowest first round score by a winner on Tour in 2016-17, you wonder? Rod Pampling's 11-under 60 in Las Vegas tied the mark in relation to par, but the 59 Thomas recorded at the Sony Open was the best.

Here's a look at how the eventual winner fared in Round 1 at every Tour event this season:

1. Safeway Open
Winner: Brendan Steele
First-round score: 5-under 67
Notes: A stellar first round by Steele, but he still trailed 18-hole leader Scott Piercy by five strokes, after Piercy opened with a 10-under 62. Steele would when the tournament at 18-under 270, one shot better than Patton Kizzire.

2. CIMB Classic
Winner: Justin Thomas
First-round score: 8-under 64
Notes: This was the first win of the season for Thomas. The opening 64 gave Thomas a share of the first-round lead with Derek Fathauer and Keegan Bradley. Thomas would win -- his second time in as many tries at the CIMB -- with a 72-hole total of 23-under 265.

3. Sanderson Farms Championship
Winner: Cody Gribble
First-round score: 1-over 73
Notes: Kevin Streelman led after the first round with a 9-under 63 -- 10 shots better than eventual winner Gribble. At this birdie-fest of a tournament, Gribble had a remarkable bounce back. He fired a 63 in the second round, followed by 67-65 on the weekend to win by four strokes over Greg Owen, Luke List and Chris Kirk at 20-under 268.

4. World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions
Winner: Hideki Matsuyama
First-round score: 6-under 66
Notes: Sweden's Rikard Karlberg set the pace on Day 1 of this WGC event with an 8-under 64, two strokes better than Matsuyama. Matsuyama, however, had the pedal to the metal all week. His worst score? A 4-under 68 in Round 3. He would win at 23-under 265, five strokes better than Henrik Stenson and Daniel Berger.

5. Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Winner: Rod Pampling
First-round score: 11-under 60
Notes: A start to a tournament doesn't get much better than the one Pampling put together in Vegas. His 11-under 60 was two better than Brooks Koepka and John Hun in Round 1. Pampling would win the tournament at 20-under 264, two better than Koepka.

6. OHL Classic at Mayakoba
Winner: Pat Perez
First-round score: 3-under 68
Note: Chris Kirk took the Round 1 lead here with an 8-under 63 -- five strokes better than Perez. Perez would have a winning total of 21-under 263, two strokes ahead of runner-up Gary Woodland.

7. The RSM Classic
Winner: Mackenzie Hughes
First-round score: 9-under 61
Notes: With the stellar 61 in Round 1, Hughes had a one-stroke advantage over Stewart Cink and Jonathan Byrd after the first day's play. Hughes finished 72 holes at 17-under 265 along with Camilo Villegas, Henrik Norlander, Blayne Barber and Billy Horschel, but managed to win the tournament on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff.

8. SBS Tournament of Champions
Winner: Justin Thomas
First-round score: 6-under 67
Notes: Jimmy Walker was the first-round leader at Kapalua with an 8-under 65 -- the course is a par 73 -- and was two strokes ahead of Thomas. Thomas would win at 22-under 270 -- his second victory of the season -- by three strokes over Hideki Matsuyama.

9. Sony Open in Hawaii
Winner: Justin Thomas
First-round score: 11-under 59
Notes: Usually when you open with a score in the 50s, it's going to be a pretty good week. That's exactly what Thomas did at the Sony, good for a three-stroke lead over Hudson Swafford. Thomas, remarkably, followed the 59 with scores of 64-65-65 and easily won the tournament at 27-under 253, seven shots better than Justin Rose.

10. CareerBuilder Challenge
Winner: Hudson Swafford
First-round score: 7-under 65
Notes: Swafford trailed only Dominic Bozzelli in Round 1, after Bozzelli shot an 8-under 64. Swafford won the tournament at 20-under 268, one ahead of Adam Hadwin.

11. Farmers Insurance Open
Winner: Jon Rahm
First-round score: even-par 72
Notes: Rahm started this tournament behind the eight-ball, trailing first-round leader Justin Rose by seven shots after Rose fired a 7-under 65. Rahm, however, turned it on for the remainder of the tournament and won at 13-under 275, three better than Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan.

12. Waste Management Phoenix Open
Winner: Hideki Matsuyama
First-round score: 6-under 65
Notes: Matsuyama was one stroke back after Round 1 after Matt Kuchar opened with a 64. Matsuyama would finish the event at 17-under 267, tied with Webb Simpson. He defeated Simpson on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff.

13. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Winner: Jordan Spieth
First-round score: 3-under 68 at Monterey Peninsula CC
Notes: Spieth shared the lead with several players in Round 1 with his 68. He would run away from the field, four shots clear of runner-up Kelly Kraft at 19 under 268.

14. Genesis Open
Winner: Dustin Johnson
First-round score: 5-under 66
Notes: Johnson was two strokes behind first-round pace-setter Sam Saunders. Johnson would claim the victory with a 17-under 267.

15. The Honda Classic
Winner: Rickie Fowler
First-round score: 4-under 66
Notes: Wesley Bryan and Cody Gribble shared the first-round lead at PGA National with scores of 6-under 64, two better than Fowler. Fowler won the tournament with a total of 12-under 268. That was four better than second-place finishers Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland.

16. World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship
Winner: Dustin Johnson
First-round score: 1-under 70
Notes: A bunch of players opened with 4-under 67s, three better than Johnson. But Johnson would win by one shot over Tommy Fleetwood at 14-under 270.

17. Valspar Championship
Winner: Adam Hadwin
First-round score: 3-under 68
Notes: Jim Herman had the first-round lead after his 9-under 62, which was six strokes better than Hadwin. Hadwin would win, however, at 14-under 270, one better than Patrick Cantlay.

18. Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
Winner: Marc Leishman
First-round score: 1-under 71
Notes: Emiliano Grillo and Matthew Fitzpatrick shared the first-round lead at Bay Hill after rounds of 5-under 67, four ahead of Leishman. Leishman won the tournament at 11-under 277, one better than Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman.

19. Puerto Rico Open
Winner: D.A. Points
First-round score: 8-under 64
Notes: Trey Mullinax had the first-round lead after a 9-under 63, one better than Points. Points won the event at 20-under 268, two strokes ahead of Retief Goosen, Bryson DeChambeau and Bill Lunde.

20. Shell Houston Open
Winner: Russell Henley
First-round score: 5-under 67
Notes: Rickie Fowler was the Round 1 leader in Houston with his 8-under 64, which was three strokes better than Henley. Henley took the win with a 20-under 268, three better than Sung Kang.

21. Masters Tournament
Winner: Sergio Garcia
First-round score: 1-under 71
Notes: Incredibly, there were only two scores recorded in the 60s in Round 1 of the 2017 Masters. Charley Hoffman's 7-under 65 was the best score of that round by a remarkable four strokes. He was six strokes better than Garcia. Garcia would finish 72 holes tied with Justin Rose at 9-under 279 before beating Rose with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff.

22. RBC Heritage
Winner: Wesley Bryan
First-round score: 2-under 69
Notes: Bud Cauley led after the first round thanks to an 8-under 63. That was six shots better than Bryan's first-round score. Bryan, however, would become the first South Carolinian to win the Heritage with a score of 13-under 271, one ahead of runner-up Luke Donald.

23. Valero Texas Open
Winner: Kevin Chappell
First-round score: 3-under 69
Notes: The lowest score of the first round -- a 6-under 66 -- belonged to South Africa's Branden Grace. That was three better than Chappell. Chappell won the tournament at 12-under 276, one ahead of Brooks Koepka.

24. Wells Fargo Championship
Winner: Brian Harman
First-round score: 1-under 71
Notes: Alex Noren, J.B. Holmes and Grayson Murray all shared the first-round lead with 5-under 67s. That was four better than Harman's 71. Harman would win the tournament at 10-under 278, one ahead of Dustin Johnson and Pat Perez.

25. THE PLAYERS Championship
Winner: Si-Woo Kim
First-round score: 3-under 69
Notes: With a 5-under 67, Mackenzie Hughes was the first-round leader at TPC Sawgrass. That was two shots better than Kim. Kim won the tournament by three over Louis Oosthuizen and Ian Poulter at 10-under 278.

26. AT&T Byron Nelson
Winner: Billy Horschel
First-round score: 2-under 68
Notes: Ricky Barnes and James Hahn shared the first-round lead with scores of 6-under 64. Horschel opened with a 2-under 68, four strikes back. Horschel was tied with Jason Day after 72 holes at 12-under 268, but got the better of the 2015 PGA Champion on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.

27. DEAN & DELUCA Invitational
Winner: Kevin Kisner
First-round score: 3-under 67
Notes: JT Poston, Derek Fathauer and Kelly Kraft set the Round 1 pace with 5-under 65s. That was two better Kisner. Kisner finished at 10-under 270, one ahead of Sean O'Hair, Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth.

28. the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide
Winner: Jason Dufner
First-round score: 7-under 65
Notes: Dufner's 65 in the first round was good for a share of the lead with David Lingmerth. Dufner finished at 13-under 275 to defeat Anirban Lahiri and Rickie Fowler by three strokes.

29. FedEx St. Jude Classic
Winner: Daniel Berger
First-round score: even-par 70
Notes: Stewart Cink and Matt Every each posted a 6-under 64 to lead after Round 1. That was six shots better than Berger, who eventually won the tournament at 10-under 270, one ahead of Charl Schwartzel and Whee Kim.

30. U.S. Open
Winner: Brooks Koepka
First-round score: 5-under 67
Notes: Rickie Fowler led after Round 1 with a 7-under 65, two strokes ahead of Koepka. Koepka won the tournament at 16-under 272, four strokes ahead of Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harman.

31. Travelers Championship
Winner: Jordan Spieth
First-round score: 7-under 63
Notes: Spieth's 63 in Round 1 was good for a one-shot advantage over Brett Stegmaier and Johnson Wagner. He would finish the tournament tied with Daniel Berger at 12-under 268, but edged Berger on the first hole of a playoff after holing an incredible bunker shot for birdie.

32. Quicken Loans National
Winner: Kyle Stanley
First-round score: even-par 70
Notes: David Lingmerth held the first round lead with a 5-under 65, five strokes better than Stanley. Stanley and Charles Howell III finished 72 holes at 7-under 273 and Stanley won on the first hole of a playoff.

33. The Greenbrier Classic
Winner: Xander Schauffele
First-round score: 6-under 64
Notes: Sebastian Munoz set the pace in Round 1 with a 9-under 61. That was three ahead of Schauffele. Schauffele wound up at 14-under 266 after 72 holes to win by one over Robert Streb.

34. John Deere Classic
Winner: Bryson DeChambeau
First-round score: 5-under 66
Notes: Charles Howell III nabbed the early first-round lead with an 8-under 63, three shots better than DeChambeau. DeChambeau finished the tournament at 18-under 266 to win by one over Patrick Rodgers.

35. The Open Championship
Winner: Jordan Spieth
First-round score: 5-under 65
Notes: Spieth's 65 was good for a share of the first-round lead with Matt Kuchar and Brooks Koepka. Spieth would win -- his third major victory overall -- at 12-under 268. three strokes ahead of Kuchar.

36. Barbasol Championship
Winner: Grayson Murray
First-round score: 4-under 67
Notes: Four players shared the first-round lead after shooting rounds of 6-under 65, two strokes better than Murray's start. Murray claimed his first PGA Tour win at 21-under 263, a stroke ahead of Chad Collins.

37. RBC Canadian Open
Winner: Jhonattan Vegas
First-round score: 6-under 66
Notes: Five players shared the first round lead at 7-under 65, a stroke ahead of Vegas. Vegas finished 72 holes tied with Charley Hoffman at 21-under 267 and then won on the first hole of a playoff.

38. World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational
Winner: Hideki Matsuyama
First-round score: 1-under 69
Notes: Thomas Pieters set the pace with a 5-under 65 in the first round. That was four strokes better than Matsuyama. Matsuyama got red-hot on the final day with a 9-under 61. He won the tournament at 16-under 264, five shots better than runner-up Zach Johnson.

39. PGA Championship
Winner: Justin Thomas
First-round score: 2-over 73
Notes: Several players had a share of the first-round lead at Quail Hollow with scores of 3-under 68. That was five shots better than Thomas. The 73 turned out to be the worst score of the week for Thomas by four strokes. He won his first major at 8-under 276, two strokes better than Francesco Molinari, Patrick Reed and Louis Oosthuizen.

40. Wyndham Championship
Winner: Henrik Stenson
First-round score: 8-under 62
Notes: Stenson's 62 was one better than a large group of players who opened with a 63. He would win the tournament -- his first victory since the 2016 Open Championship -- at 22-under 258. That was one better than Ollie Schniederjans.

41. The Northern Trust
Winner: Dustin Johnson
First-round score: 8-under 62
Notes: Russell Henley's 6-under 64 gave him the early lead, one ahead of Johnson. Johnson won the tournament on the first hole of a playoff after finishing regulation tied with Jordan Spieth at 13-under 267.

42. Dell Technologies Championship
Winner: Justin Thomas
First-round score: even-par 71
Notes: A 5-under 66 gave Dustin Johnson the early lead at TPC Boston, five strokes better than Thomas. Thomas rallied the next three days. He finished at 17-under 267 for the win, three strokes ahead of Jordan Spieth.
 

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.