Kiwi Tim Wilkinson is tied for second place after a 4-under round of 66 at the first Korn Ferry Tour resumption tournament at TPC Sawgrass in Florida.
A local Florida resident and PGA Tour regular, Wilkinson posted the best early score from an area player on the Dye’s Valley Course which ironically was the course where the PGA Tour cancelled The Players Championship earlier this year leading to the COVID-19 break.
Wilkinson believes he and his family may have been infected with Covid-19.
Speaking to Newstalk ZB on his upcoming return to action he revealed that his parents, wife and daughter all fell ill with flu-like symptoms earlier this year.
He said he had done an antibody test in hopes of revealing whether it was in fact Covid-19.
The Florida-Times Union reported that Wilkinson missed only three fairways and three greens, and was so close on two of the fairways he missed that he was coming out of the first cut and had little problem reaching the green.
He made only one long putt, a 20-footer for birdie at No. 15, and hit his approach shots close enough to give him little stress over his other four birdie putts.
“It was really solid,” said the left-hander from New Zealand, who at 41 got their PGA Tour cards last year off the Korn Ferry Tour.
“I usually play this course when I come out here but sometimes it’s difficult to play a course you play a lot, in a tournament. The conditions are quite different. The greens are faster and normally I’ve had a couple of beers by the time I finish.”
He also had a different way of practising while the tour was off between March 1 and this week. Wilkinson did almost all of his practising for weeks in a simulator at his home and didn’t start practising at the TPC Sawgrass until about three weeks ago.
“It was not as good,” he said about his outdoor sessions. “So I went back and practised more at home.”
Based on his Tour status, Wilkinson will make his next PGA Tour start in Detroit next month.
Frenchman Paul Barjon leads the tournament on 6-under while fellow Kiwi Steven Alker finished on 1-over for the opening day.