Aussies make solid start in Texas

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Aussies make solid start in Texas

The Australians missed the cut at last week’s major in Kentucky but bounced back with 69s to be four behind first-round leader Charley Hoffman, who fired a five-under 65 at nearby Colonial.

Scott, the only player to win on every current PGA Tour stop in Texas, was playing the renovated golf course for the first time since 2018. He won in 2014 in his first start at No.1 in the world.

His card included an eagle-three on the 1st – his 10th – where he followed up a booming 346-yard drive with an accurate 235-yard second that landed just metres from the pin. He made the putt, but gave a shot back at the next hole.

Davis opened his round with a birdie on the 10th, but a bogey on the 12th followed by a double on 15 threw him back in the field. But he steadied on the way back home to post birdies on the 1st, 4th and 9th.

They are joined by compatriot Min Woo Lee, whose 69 included four birdies.

Lee, was three-under on the front nine, but made bogeys on the 11th, 16th and 17th to go with a lone birdie on his back nine.

World No.1 Scottie Scheffler failed to break par in the opening round for the second time this year on a tough afternoon of blustery conditions.

But it wasn’t the case for Hoffman, who held a one-shot lead over five players who all had a big advantage of playing in the morning.

Hoffman had to deal with wind that gusted in the 20-mph range, putting a premium on shots into greens that were particularly firm from being so new.

Scheffler’s two-over 72 on Thursday was the second time in his last three rounds he was over par. Before that, he had played 41 consecutive rounds at par or better.

He was in the news all day – first from Louisville, Kentucky, where police released what video they had of his arrest last Friday morning before the PGA Championship, then from an opening round at Colonial that included his first triple bogey of the year.

Scheffler wasn’t alone in his struggles.

Only 45 players from the 132-man field broke par, a stark contrast from the record scoring last week at the PGA Championship.

Much of that had to do with Colonial, which went through an extensive restoration since last year’s tournament that included new sod from tee-to-green along with an upgraded irrigation system.

The greens were firm and bouncy from new sod, as expected – no one had played Colonial after the renovation until this week – and the wind added to the difficulty.

Hoffman missed only two fairways and three greens, and he never came seriously close to dropping a shot.

“It’s one of those golf courses you want to be aggressive on because you have some mid and low irons in, but you can’t get too aggressive out here because the greens are small and it’s hard to get up-and-down,” Hoffman said.

“So I would say it was somewhat an easy five-under, which are nice. They’re not always that way, but it was low stress.”

Brian Harman and Martin Laird also played bogey-free in the morning for their 66s, and they were joined by Tony Finau, S.H. Kim and Davis Riley.

© Golf Australia. All rights reserved.

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