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While the PGA Tour’s brief offseason may have felt like a blink for some, others like Robby Shelton couldn’t wait to get to work Thursday at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.
“Last night it was tough to sleep,” Shelton told reporters. “I’ve been waiting for this moment all season.”
In his first round as a Tour member, Shelton channeled that nervous energy into some great play at the first event of the new wraparound season, firing an 8-under 62 to take an early advantage in West Virginia.
Shelton won a national championship in 2014 as a freshman at Alabama, and he tied for third the following year as an amateur at the Barbasol Championship. But his early career as a pro has been slower to develop than some of his former teammates, as he made a detour to the Mackenzie Tour in Canada before two seasons on the Korn Ferry Tour.
But Shelton blossomed this summer, winning twice in a three-start span to ensure a promotion for this season.
“I think my sponsor exemptions and stuff, I thought I had to change my game and try to play with the big boys,” Shelton said. “Now, I mean, I know it’s just golf. Been through the Mackenzie Tour and the Korn Ferry Tour, so I know what my game has. And if I can just get to that sooner, that’s the goal.”
Shelton is considered a “first-time member” by the Tour, with the eight non-member starts he made during the 2017 season making him ineligible for the Rookie of the Year race. He plans to stay busy this fall, with starts in each of the first five weeks of the new season and planned trips to seven of the first 10 events.
His opening round at Greenbrier included nine birdies against just a single bogey, and the 62 is two shots lower than his previous career best on Tour.
“Been a heck of a season, and the game is trending in a good direction again,” Shelton said. “Super excited and just ready to get the next three (rounds) going.”