Cognizant Classic, Rory McIlroy in 16th place

At Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Francesco Molinari concluded the first round of the Cognizant Classic in 71st place with a score of 70 (-1) strokes

by Andrea Gussoni
Cognizant Classic, Rory McIlroy in 16th place
© Andrew Redington / Getty Images Sport

At Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Francesco Molinari concluded the first round of the Cognizant Classic in 71st place with a score of 70 (-1) strokes. In the PGA Tour event held at the PGA National Resort (The Champion, par 71), Molinari managed three birdies but incurred two bogeys.

Palm Beach Gardens, results

Leading the leaderboard after the opening 18 holes with a score of 64 (-7) are American Chad Ramey and South Korean Kim Seong-hyeon. The battle for third place is tight, with Americans Andrew Novak, Ryan Moore, Austin Eckroat, Cameron Young, Chesson Hadley, and Englishman David Skinns all tied with a total score of 65 (-6).

In the first leg of the "Florida Swing," Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, ranked second in the world and a past winner of the competition in 2012, sits in 16th place with a score of 67 (-4) after a round featuring five birdies but marred by a bogey on the 18th hole, his last of the day.

American Chris Kirk, defending champion from 2023, also finished with the same score. The Cognizant Classic, previously known as the Honda Classic until last year, offers a prize purse of $9,000,000, with $1,620,000 going to the winner.

Palm Beach Gardens is a city located in Palm Beach County in the state of Florida, situated 77 miles north of Miami. It serves as a principal city within the Miami metropolitan area of South Florida, and according to the 2020 United States census, it had a population of 59,182 residents.

The city's history traces back to a time when the land was predominantly used for cattle ranches, pine forests, and swampland. In 1959, John D. MacArthur, a wealthy landowner and insurance magnate, unveiled plans to develop 4,000 acres of land, envisioning homes for 55,000 people.

Initially naming the area Palm Beach City, his proposal was rejected by the Florida Legislature due to its similarity to nearby Palm Beach. Thus, MacArthur opted for Palm Beach Gardens, intending to establish a "garden city" concept.

Officially incorporated as a "paper town" in 1959, Palm Beach Gardens had a population of just one according to the 1960 Census, likely a squatter permitted by MacArthur to reside on his property. However, rapid development ensued throughout the 1960s, with the population nearing 7,000 by 1970.

To highlight his burgeoning community, MacArthur acquired an 80-year-old banyan tree from nearby Lake Park, slated for removal to accommodate a dentist's office expansion. The relocation effort, costing $30,000 and requiring 1,008 hours of manpower, garnered attention when the massive tree shifted during transport, disrupting nearby communication lines.

Despite this setback, the banyan trees remain prominent landmarks along MacArthur Boulevard near Northlake Boulevard, featured on the city shield. In January 2007, Alexandre Renoir, the great-grandson of impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, presented a painting depicting the Gardens banyan tree to the city.

This artwork is currently on display at the city hall on North Military Trail, symbolizing the city's rich history and natural beauty.

Rory Mcilroy Francesco Molinari