Tyrrell Hatton leads with one stroke after the opening round of the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek, where Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth ended the day above average.
The PGA Tour tournament is being held in Las Vegas after being relocated from South Korea due to travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. Number 1 in the world Dustin Johnson is absent due to his positive COVID-19 test.
The Englishman Hatton, who won the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour last week, set the early pace on Thursday with a seven-under-par-65 on the Shadow Creek Golf Course.
Looking to increase his only PGA Tour win after winning this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, Hatton mixed an eagle with seven birdies and two bogeys.
It is Hatton’s first 18-hole lead on the PGA Tour as the 29-year-old tops the rankings ahead of Russell Henley and Xander Schauffele after finishing his career with a 30-hole result on the back nine had finished.
Spanish stars Jon Rahm and Tyler Duncan are two strokes off pace and head into the second round, one shot ahead of Joel Dahmen, Ryan Palmer and Kevin Streelman.
Former world number 1 Jason Day scored a 70 for being two under – a punch better off than Sergio Garcia.
Justin Thomas opened his title defense with a 72 after the two-time CJ Cup champion double played his last hole of the round.
Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, who played for the first time since his eighth place at the US Open, struggled on day one.
McIlroy turned his last three holes when he signed for a one-over-par 73, while Koepka and Spieth didn’t do much better ahead of the rescheduled Masters next month.
Koepka returned after a two-month injury hiatus from hip and knee problems after missing the FedEx Cup playoffs and the US Open. On a mixed day, Koepka had three birdies, a double bogey, and three bogeys.
Spieth has been out of shape and without a title since capturing the Open Championship in 2017 and experienced a similar round with four birdies, one triple bogey and three bogeys.
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