The bucket hat must have been lucky for Peter Malnati on Day 1 of the AT&T Byron Nelson on Thursday.
In his 593rd round on the PGA Tour, the 34-year-old recorded two eagles in a single round for the first time in his career en route to an opening round 8-under 64 at TPC Craig Ranching, sitting T-2 to start the tournament.
The highlight of those eagles was a hole-out from 189 yards at the par-4 13th.
“I imagine 13 is one of the top three hardest holes on the course, would be my guess,” Malnati said after the round. I really hit a nice drive and was just really in perfect position… They said up by the green it kind of took one hop and trickled in the hole.”
The other eagle was on the par-5 ninth. From the tee, Malnati described it as a “daunting” shot due to the southerly Texas wind, but he wasn’t daunted, ultimately sinking the long putt.
“[I’ve] played some good rounds and haven’t really turned in great scores, even one round like today, or especially not great scores throughout a tournament,” Malnati said of his game as of late. “But today just felt like kind of a continuation of how I’ve been playing.”
In nine seasons on Tour, Malnati has notched one Tour victory: the Sanderson Farms Championship in November 2015. He has one top 10 finish this season — the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, where he finished T-7.
Malnati’s career-low round is a 62, which he achieved at the 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and 2021 Sony Open.
The only player to shoot better than Malnati so in Round 1 is Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz, who also notched two eagles to finish at 12-under 60.
Malnati didn’t focus too much on Munoz’s impressive round, but he did use it as fuel.
“No sense to get complacent,” Malnati said. “Might as well keep going. So I guess, obviously, I’m always trying to do the best I can, but [it] may have been motivating to see someone going that low, knowing you could do it — needed to do it on the course.”