Matt Kuchar shares a 3-way tie for lead in first round of PGA Heritage
April 19, 2014, 12:17 am TWN
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, South Carolina -- Matt Kuchar carried on his good form from the Masters to fire a five-under par 66 for a share of the first-round lead at the US$5.8 million U.S. PGA Heritage on Thursday.
Fellow Americans Scott Langley and William McGirt, each seeking a first tour triumph, were level with Kuchar after 18 holes at Harbour Town, two shots ahead of Harris English.
Jordan Spieth, the 20-year-old talent who shared second-place honors at Augusta National last week, was in a pack of 15 players on 69.
Four days after briefly sharing the lead in the final round of the Masters with Spieth and eventual winner Bubba Watson, world number six Kuchar was back in contention just a few hours down the road.
“You have a couple of days to unwind after a major, and then Thursday starts and then you've got a chance to play another PGA Tour event. It's pretty easy to get excited for this,” Kuchar, who shared fifth at Augusta, said.
“Certainly you're so tested at the Masters, and you have to be so precise around major championship golf that I think a lot of times guys next week they're a little more alert, a little more sharp because of the precision required at major championships.”
Kuchar, who began off the 10th tee, birdied the course's three par-5 holes — the second, fifth and 15th — and birdied the ninth and 13th as well in a bogey-free round to grab his share of the lead.
“It was some awfully steady golf,” Kuchar said.
McGirt ran off four birdies in a row from the second through fifth holes and added another at the ninth, taking his lone bogey at 15 but answering with a birdie at the par-3 17th.
Langley, who birdied the second hole, had a run of four birdies in a row as well from the par-3 fourth to the par-3 seventh, then answered a bogey at the eighth with a birdie at nine. On the back nine he birdied the par-3 14th but took another bogey at 18.
Spieth, who would have been the youngest champion in Masters history, said: “I was anxious to get back out and play another competitive round of golf.
“So today was going to be kind of therapy, in a sense, from last week, to get back out and try and make some birdies.”
Spieth made four birdies and two bogeys to stand three strokes off the pace, playing alongside Davis Love and Tom Watson.
“He spoke some words of wisdom to me, on and off the course,” Spieth said of Watson. “Obviously talking with him is priceless.
“Two legends of the game. I'm humbled to play with those guys and the success that they've had and the way they've handled things on and off the course. I only hope one day I can do it half as good as they have.”
Australian Greg Chalmers withdrew after going five-over through five holes with a back injury.