Hahn, Barnes share early lead

New Straits Times - - Sport -

DAL­LAS: James Hahn fired a bo­gey free six-un­der 64 to take a share of the lead with fel­low Amer­i­can Ricky Barnes after the first round of the USPGA Tour’s Byron Nel­son tour­na­ment on Thurs­day.

Hahn, who is seek­ing his third win on the Tour, tal­lied six birdies with no bo­geys at the Four Sea­sons Re­sort course.

Matt Kuchar, Jhonat­tan Ve­gas of Venezuela, Ja­son Kokrak and Cameron Tringale were two strokes back after card­ing 66s.

World No 1 Dustin John­son, Bud Cauley, Brooks Koepka, John Huh, Sean O’Hair, Ryan Ar­mour and Peter Mal­nati were tied for sev­enth after shoot­ing 67s. Scores in the af­ter­noon av­er­aged more than two strokes higher than the morn­ing group, as winds swirled around the Texas course.

Hahn, whose last win was at the 2016 Wells Fargo Cham­pi­onship, found the fair­way on 12 of 14 chances and hit all but one green in reg­u­la­tion.

“It’s play­ing tough out there,” Hahn said. “You know, once you start count­ing up your strokes in the mid­dle of the round it’s kind of when things go hay­wire.

“I had a great con­ver­sa­tion with my caddy on al­most ev­ery hole try­ing to leave our­selves the best op­por­tu­nity for a birdie.”

Barnes, the 2002 US Amateur cham­pion, went on an up-and­down ride, as his score­card fea­tured eight birdies and two bo­geys.

“I played solid, kept the hole in front of me even though I didn’t hit many fair­ways,” Barnes said.

John­son two-putted from 90 feet on the 18th hole to stay a part of his group.

“I felt like I hit a lot of good shots and ended up in re­ally bad spots due to the wind con­di­tions blow­ing re­ally hard and it’s gusty, which made it tough,” John­son said.

“It was tough to judge the dis­tance, tough putting, tough all around.”

World No 6 Jor­dan Spi­eth and fourth-ranked Ja­son Day of Aus­tralia head­lined a list of 12 play­ers at 68. AFP

James Hahn

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