Northern Ohio's Jaysen Hansen leans on experience in opening, 4-under 68

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Northern Ohio's Jaysen Hansen leans on experience in opening, 4-under 68

SEASIDE, Calif. -- In his sixth PGA Professional Championship appearance one year ago at Sunriver Resort, Northern Ohio Section professional Jaysen Hansen fired a final-round 69 to tie for ninth -- the first time he hadn't missed the cut -- and advanced to his first PGA Championship.

And was it ever an eventful one at Quail Hollow.

Hansen opened with a disappointing, 12-over 84. 

But what he did in Round 2 said a lot about the person and the player that Hansen is, as he incredibly bounced back with a 2-under 70.

The confidence he took away from that 14-stroke turnaround in the season's final major was immense. 

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A year later, Hansen is off to a fantastic start in the 2018 PGA Professional Championship at Bayonet Black Horse. 

Playing his first round at Black Horse on Sunday, Hansen took the early clubhouse lead with a 4-under 68 in a round that included back-to-back eagles on the 18th (his ninth hole of the day) and first holes.

"Going back to back eagles was pretty special," the 39-year-old said. "I've never done that before. In fact, when we left 1 and headed to 2, I said, 'maybe I can hole one here and make it three eagles in a row and we'll have a 59-watch going on here.'"

That "59-watch" didn't pan out, but his score was sensational given the cool, windy conditions, nonetheless. 

On both eagles, Hansen reached the greens with driver-3 wood.

At the 18th, he hit a low, running 3-wood to about 4 feet and made the putt. Over at No. 1, he hit a high, towering cut that landed softly and settled to 15 feet before brushing it in for the three.

With that second eagle, Hansen reached 6-under par.  

"When I hit 6 under, I don't know if I just got nervous, or I got scared, but I just didn't commit to a couple of shots," said Hansen, who took bogeys at Nos. 3 and 5 (his 12th and 14th holes of the day). "We just had to calm down -- just like the PGA -- stay in the moment. I hit a couple of bad iron shots coming in, but I drove the ball well and that helped."

Hansen said there was no doubt in his mind that what he accomplished in 2017 aided him on Sunday. 

"The experience from last year absolutely helped," he said. "To do what I did last year in Oregon and then at the PGA and see what that was like, it was pretty special."