Rookie nerves, a ‘mini-moon,’ and free rolling among the 5 things we learned at the first round of 2022 Fortinet Championship

Michael Kim hits his tee shot on the sixth hole during the first round of the 2022 Fortinet Championship at Silverado Resort and Spa North course in Napa, California. (Photo: Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images)

S.H. Kim made it look easy Thursday, shooting 6-under 66 in his PGA Tour debut. But on the inside it was a different story.

“I haven’t felt this nervous,” he said. “If I had to pick one event, maybe in contention on the Korn Ferry Tour down in Lake Charles maybe compared to the nerves, level of nerves I had today, and even at the Korn Ferry Tour Finals I felt comfortable but today, just because this is my debut on the first season of PGA Tour, I felt a little nervous. … Definitely the first two holes I was really nervous, nerve wracking, but then I had a birdie on No. 3 and a couple more birdies after that, I felt more comfortable.”

Kim wasn’t alone. There are 27 rookies in the field this week and that led to plenty of first tee jitters.

“That first tee shot was different,” Nico Echavarria said. “Obviously we’ve played with pressure, that pressure I felt on the last round last week or two weeks ago (at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship) was as big, but this is a little different. It’s a bigger stage. And obviously the situation shouldn’t change, but you just don’t feel the same as you felt on Korn Ferry, to be honest.”

“It’s probably one of the most nervous times I’ve had on the golf course for some reason,” said Taylor Montgomery, who shot 68. “I mean, I played in a couple U.S. Opens and I don’t know what it was.”

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