The Matthew Wolff Show resumed Thursday at TPC Deere Run, as the newly minted PGA Tour winner picked up where he left off following his maiden professional victory in Minnesota.
There weren’t many fireworks – and certainly a lack of no-look eagle makes – but Wolff’s encore was still impressive.
The 20-year-old phenom has had a whirlwind of a few days since capturing the 3M Open in dramatic fashion on Sunday – hundreds of text messages, an Instagram following that has now pushed past 100,000, a brand-new Tour card, little sleep.
“Been catching up a little bit,” Wolff said.
A hangover from his celebratory “virgin pina colada” would’ve been very much understood despite Wolff entering the week with 25-to-1 odds to win at TPC Deere Run. However, golf’s newest – and arguably most promising – Next Big Thing looked as comfortable as ever Thursday, playing alongside fellow Oklahoma State alums Charles Howell III and Kevin Tway while carding a bogey-free, 4-under 67.
“The weight off my shoulders is really big, just going out here, freeing up, and not just really worrying about I have to get my Tour card or I have to do this,” Wolff said after his round, which concluded with the former Cowboy just three shots back of leader Adam Long. “There’s really no pressure on me anymore.”
Wolff was slow out of the gates in the first round, though he wasn’t careless. He started on the back nine, hit seven greens and didn’t really come close to dropping a shot until he left himself a 30-footer for par at No. 18. (He made the putt.)
Then came the fireworks. Wolff admittedly pulled his tee shot on the par-4 first hole, but his supreme length bailed him out. Wolff’s tee shot traveled 350 yards, cutting the dogleg on the 403-yard par 4 and ending up just steps shy of the green.
Wolff birded the hole, and then followed with birdies on Nos. 2 and 3. He piped a 369-yard drive at the par-5 second before showing off his precision with a 171-yard tee shot to 8 feet at the par-3 third.
“It was little things like that that gave me that little bit of an advantage,” Wolff said.
Whether or not Wolff can repeat and win for the second time in just four professional starts remains to be seen. But the youngster keeps putting on a show and again has another stage that seems to suit his eye-popping game, which continues to fire on all cylinders.
“Everything in my game feels really good right now,” Wolff said. “… Looking to get another win.”