Everyone in his group retired, but Matt Wallace played in the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour.

CROMWELL, Connecticut – Matt Wallace got out of the car, grabbed his bag, and walked the 5 feet to the first tee at TPC River Highlands. He still had six minutes before his departure time. He could have waited six hours. No one else would come.

“It’s just me today,” he told Ron Scheyd, the headline announcing each player’s name before taking his first shot into the air.

One of his playmates, Denny McCarthy, retired earlier in the day.

“The crown caught him,” Wallace said as he was alone on the tee, waiting for his caddy as they were about to begin a quiet walk on another golf course and eerily quiet and fanless on the PGA Tour.

After McCarthy, the third player on the PGA Tour to test positive for COVID-19, retired, Bud Cauley’s name suddenly appeared with a “WD” next to it as well. Cauley had played alongside McCarthy during Thursday’s first round. According to Wallace, Cauley said he was not feeling well and that is why he decided not to play on Friday.

“He said he didn’t feel good, he didn’t feel good,” Wallace said after posting a 2 out of 72. “I can understand why he wouldn’t play. I haven’t felt better either. I’m playing with the opportunity to change my career If I win, why wouldn’t I play? “

Cauley became the seventh player in this week’s Travelers’ Championship to retire due to the virus. Cameron Champ, who tested positive earlier this week, retired Tuesday. On Wednesday, Graeme McDowell and Brooks Koepka pulled out after their caddies tested positive. Chase Koepka, the brother of Brooks, who earned a spot on the field as Monday’s qualifier, and Webb Simpson also pulled out as a precaution.

“What Denny, Bud and others are demonstrating is exactly what we ask of all of you: continue to do your part to take this virus seriously and maintain not only your own health as a priority, but also that of your fellow competitors and those at who may come in contact with, “PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement.

However, Wallace was standing on the tee at 1:30 pm ET. He was the third member of the group. He stood alongside McCarthy and Cauley for Thursday’s first round. They were gone from this week’s event. He kept playing.

“It is black and white for me,” he said. “I tested negative. I can go play.”

But at those moments, just after his phone rang at 8 am and he found that his two playmates were not feeling well, he became nervous.

“We came directly [to the golf course] and they tested me, “he said.” And then I was around here, but I made sure we stayed away from everyone because we knew something could happen. “

It was then that his mind raced a little more.

“I was scared when I heard,” he said on the first tee when the players passed, asking what happened and how he felt.

If fear was still with him as he waited to hear his name, he covered it up with a few jokes before starting an unusual round in a sport that has been filled with them in the three weeks since the PGA Tour’s return after a three-month shutdown in medium of the coronavirus pandemic.

More players passed. He asked them if they would like to join.

As he prepared to take his initial shot, he made a prediction.

“You can dial me for a 59.”

He waved to, well, nobody after he threw his first tee shot 319 yards into the fairway on the first hole downhill.

After hitting, he stayed there for a second, mostly out of habit. I didn’t need to; no one else waited to start their rounds. It was just him.

Finally, on the third hole, he heard a sound, a break from the silence. He backed off on a tee shot because a few holes ahead some people who have country houses in TPC River Highlands were cheering on Phil Mickelson.

Up on the green, after his birdie putt wobbled and he tapped alongside, he shot his putter into his bag. When his caddy put the flagpole back in the hole, Wallace made his way to the next tee, muttering to himself. After all, on this day, I didn’t have many people I could talk to, anyway.

He wished he had a playmate and wished the PGA Tour had adjusted a tee time for him.

“Just a little frustrated that maybe … I don’t know what the PGA Tout might think, but I would [Dustin Johnson] play alone? “Wallace said.” Rory [McIlroy] play alone? I probably doubt it. Then they could have dropped one of the players from the front or perhaps from behind to continue playing with me. Just don’t think it was a great move to leave someone alone in the middle of the pack. “

But he continued for the next 4 hours, 41 minutes, just him and his caddy and a lone scorer walking. He hit his tee shot to the left at No. 10, then grabbed his sandwich, just a boy eating lunch alone on the golf course.

He made two bogeys and a birdie in the last nine. As he approached the 18th green, he saw his ball curled up on the field next to the green and shook his head. He looked tired. I was ready for a long day to do.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the end of the world,” he said. “It was not the best day.”