Ollie Schniederjans eagled the closing hole on Thursday to take a three-point lead in the PGA Tour Barracuda Championship in Nevada, played using the Modified Stableford scoring system.
Schniederjans landed his five-iron three feet from the pin to set up the eagle on the par-five finishing hole at Montreaux Golf and Country Club in Reno.
The eagle was especially valuable in the uniquely scored event, which rather than counting strokes awards points: eight for an albatross, five for an eagle, two for a birdie, zero for par, minus one for a bogey and minus three for double bogey or worse.
“Eagles are huge in this format,” Schniederjans said. “So, it’s a little more nerve-wracking, three-footer being three more points. It’s interesting you have putts that are worth more than others.”
Schniederjans, who made six birdies, finished the first round on 17 points, three more than Australian Aaron Baddeley and American Denny McCarthy.
American Robert Streb was alone on 13 points.
McCarthy was tied for the lead with one hole remaining, but he a double-bogey at his finishing hole, the par-four ninth, cost him three points.
The winner of the tournament — played opposite the elite World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio — will earn a spot in next week’s PGA Championship at Bellerive if not already qualified.
Past 10 winners of the PGA Championship
Past 10 winners of the PGA Championship:
2017: Justin Thomas (USA), Quail Hollow
2016: Jimmy Walker (USA), Baltusrol
2015: Jason Day (AUS), Whistling Straits
2014: Rory McIlroy (NIR), Valhalla
2013: Jason Dufner (USA), Oak Hill
2012: Rory McIlroy (NIR), Kiawah Island
2011: Keegan Bradley (USA), Atlanta AC
2010: Martin Kaymer (GER), Whistling Straits
2009: Yang Yong-eun (KOR), Hazeltine
2008: Padraig Harrington (IRL), Oakland Hills