WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Taylor Moore, Henrik Norlander, Michael Hebert and Will Cannon posted matching 7-under 63s to take a share of the first-round lead at the Wichita Open Supporting Wichita’s Youth.
The four co-leaders were all bogey-free on Thursday at Crestview Country Club. Carding seven birdies in the first round, Moore had success on the greens, needing just 25 putts enroute to sharing the lead.
The Texas native got up-and-down five of five times after hitting 13 of 18 greens in regulation to finish bogey free. Moore initially made a name for himself on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada in 2016, finishing third on the Order of Merit. He graduated with five top-10 finishes that season, including a victory at the Staal Foundation Open.
The University of Arkansas product adjusted well to the Korn Ferry Tour, advancing to the Finals in his first two seasons. Despite his competitive success on the course, Moore recently had a health scare, suffering a collapsed lung in early March.
A trip to the hospital led to immediate surgery, forcing the 25- year-old to take a two-month break from golf.
Thankfully, with medical care, Moore regained his health and returned to competitive golf at the 2019 REX Hospital Open with a new outlook on life.
“I’m recovering great,” Moore commented. “I’m back out playing. I started back out in Raleigh not too long ago and I feel great overall. Just kind of a freak deal back in March, but I’ve had surgery, moved past it and I’m excited to get back out and playing.”
Moore missed the cut in his competitive return in Raleigh, followed by another missed cut at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation entering this week.
Even through the disappointing finishes, the former Razorback decided to focus on the positives with a refreshed mindset.
“I’m just fortunate to play this game and do it as my job,” Moore added. “Definitely a new perspective, but also very excited to get back at it.”
Fueled by putting advice from a fellow Korn Ferry Tour player, Hebert recorded his lowest round of the season with a 7-under 63, beating his previous best of 68 by five strokes.
The Auburn University alum co-leads for the first time after any round in his 101st start on Tour.
“I’ll give a shout-out to Drew Weaver,” Hebert said. “I saw him on the putting green yesterday and he thought my stroke was getting a bit quick. He said, ‘Why don’t you try to get a little more rhythm and more of a back stroke?’”
The tip worked, as Hebert only needed 27 putts in his opening round, including a few mid-range putts throughout the day.
Among the quartet of leaders, Norlander is seeking his second Korn Ferry Tour victory, following his maiden win at the 2015 Hotel Fitness Championship.
Cannon is seeking his first top-10 finish on the Korn Ferry Tour after missing the first five cuts of his rookie season.