Rocket Mortgage: Neal Shipley finds no learning curve, contends in 1st professional PGA Tour start

Neal Shipley is no longer an amateur golfer but officially a professional. He made his PGA Tour Americas start last week at The Beachlands Victoria Open and finished T9.

Shipley received a sponsorship exemption into the Rocket Mortgage Classic to make his first PGA Tour start as a professional. He is no stranger to the PGA Tour, though, as he took the world by storm at The Masters and U.S. Open.

The former Ohio State Buckeye finished low amateur at both majors, becoming the second player in the last 25 years to achieve this feat. Viktor Hovland was the other player to do it in 2019.

Friday at Detroit Golf Club saw him card a 4-under 68 to follow his Thursday 5-under 67 score. He sits at 9-under total and four shots behind the leader, Akshay Bhatia. Despite being a new kid on the block, Shipley does not consider it.

“With my experience with the majors, I don’t feel like there’s a big learning curve for me,” Shipley said.

Rocket Mortgage Classic, Neal Shipley, PGA Tour

Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

“Pretty fortunate to have had two great experiences at Augusta and Pinehurst. I’ve been in the mix at both at certain times throughout the week, so I feel comfortable. I had a great week last week as a professional as well. So getting settled in and playing good golf, and good golf travels no matter if you’re an amateur or a professional.”

He began his day with a bogey on the par-4 2nd but rebounded and put together a solid round. Shipley recorded two more birdies on the front, then three more on the back nine as he came home in 33 strokes.

The 23-year-old is No. 4 in strokes gained approach to the green, picking up +4.296 shots. He is also T10 in strokes gained total at +5.970.

“Had a good first two days so far. Played steady golf today, which I was pretty happy about,” he said. “Hope to keep that up in the weekend and maybe even go a little bit lower. Throw in a low round tomorrow, and we’ll be right in the mix.”

Shipley sits in a good spot heading into Saturday and the rest of the weekend. His PGA Tour journey does not stop in Detroit, as he will also play in next week’s John Deere Classic.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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