McNealy sits on a pile of firsts in Silverado

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Fortinet Championship leader Maverick McNealy recorded nine birdies for the third time, his most in a round on the PGA Tour. Photo: Forbes.com
Fortinet Championship leader Maverick McNealy recorded nine birdies for the third time, his most in a round on the PGA Tour. Photo: Forbes.com

Maverick McNealy (1/-8) holds his first lead after any round on the PGA Tour, having made his professional debut at 2017 Fortinet Championship.

 

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Mito Pereira holds the best position among 26 Tour rookies in the field.

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Newly-named Tour Rookie of the Year Will Zalatoris is three back and the only player bogey-free through 36 holes.

45-time PGA Tour winner Phil Mickelson (T24) opened with 70-69 in his seventh start in the event.

 

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Notables to miss the cut include World No. 1 Jon Rahm and past Fortinet Championship winners Cameron Champ (2019), Emiliano Grillo (2015) and Jonas Blixt (2012).

Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama carded 69 for T17 alongside Korea’s Si Woo Kim (70). They trail the leader by six shots entering the weekend.

McNealy’s previous-best position on the leaderboard: T2, twice (2021 3M Open/R3, 2020 Barracuda Championship/R3).

The 132 marks a career-low 36-hole total (previous: 133/2021 Charles Schwab Challenge). The 64 marks low score in 16 rounds in the event (previous: 68, twice, R1/2021, R1/2017).

McNealy recorded nine birdies for the third time, his most in a round (most recent: 2020 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba/R3).

His best finish on Tour is 2/2021 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

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He is making his fifth start in the Fortinet Championship, site of his professional debut in 2017 (T52); has made the most starts in the Fortinet Championship than any other event on TOUR; lone missed cut in the event came in 2020.

Finished the 2020-21 PGA Tour Season No. 58 in the FedExCup, advancing to the BMW Championship for the second consecutive season in as many seasons eligible.

Pereira (T2/-10) is making his 10th start on the Tour and first in Fortinet Championship. He is one of two players from Chile with Tour membership (other: Joaquin Niemann).

 

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He became a Tour member in June after earning the three-victory promotion via the 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour, the 12th player in history to do so, and first since Wesley Bryan in 2016.

The last rookie to win on Tour was Garrick Higgo (2021 Palmetto Championship at Congaree).

Zalatoris (T4/-9) is making his making his 34th career Tour start and first in the Fortinet Championship.

His best finish in 33 previous Tour starts: 2nd/2021 Masters Tournament.

He was named 2021 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year (Arnold Palmer Award) on Monday, and joined the Tour as a Special Temporary Member in November 2020 and collected 1,296 non-member FedExCup points to earn full-time membership for the 2021-22 season.

He recorded eight top-10s and made 21 cuts in 25 starts, highlighted by a runner-up at the 2021 Masters Tournament.

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