AWE­SOME TRIO

Kraft, Pos­ton and Fathauer share lead as big names lurk at Colo­nial

New Straits Times - - Sport -

AMER­I­CANS Kelly Kraft, JT Pos­ton and Derek Fathauer shared the first-round lead at Colo­nial on Thurs­day with a host of big names on their heels in the US PGA Tour Dean & DeLuca In­vi­ta­tional.

Kraft, Pos­ton and Fathauer fired five-un­der par 65s on the par-70 Colo­nial Coun­try Club lay­out in Fort Worth, Texas.

They were one in front of North­ern Ire­land’s Graeme McDow­ell, ris­ing Span­ish star Jon Rahm and Amer­i­can Scott Brown, with five-time ma­jor win­ner Phil Mickelson head­ing a group a fur­ther stroke back on 67.

McDow­ell, the 2010 US Open cham­pion, is mak­ing his de­but in a tour­na­ment that clashes with the Euro­pean PGA Cham­pi­onship at Went­worth and made the most of be­nign morn­ing con­di­tions to grab four birdies with­out a bo­gey.

“It’s a real clas­sic old-school golf course,” he told PGATour.com. “At the back of your mind you’re hop­ing you mak­ing right de­ci­sions off tees and get the right strat­egy on holes. I re­ally felt like I played the course cor­rectly to­day. Nice to get a low score un­der my belt.”

Mickelson also teed off early and fin­ished with three straight birdies at the sev­enth, eighth and ninth.

“We got a nice break be­cause it was pretty calm this morn­ing and we had an op­por­tu­nity to get it go­ing early,” said Mickelson, a two-time win­ner at Colo­nial who rolled in a 30-footer to cap his round.

“The course chal­lenges you tee-to-green but once you get it on the green you re­ally have an op­por­tu­nity to take ad­van­tage of the shots you hit in there, as op­posed to some cour­ses we play that are overly con­toured.”

Fathauer set an early tar­get with six birdies in his 65 — in­clud­ing four in his fi­nal nine holes.

Kraft, run­ner-up at Peb­ble Beach this year, had five birdies with­out a bo­gey, his 40-footer at 16 giv­ing him a share of the lead.

Pos­ton had six birdies against one bo­gey.

Brown had seven birdies and held the out­right lead at six-un­der be­fore a dou­ble-bo­gey at the 18th dropped him into a tie with McDow­ell and Rahm.

Mickelson was joined on 67 by an­other two-time win­ner in Zach John­son along with Ryan Moore, Kevin Kis­ner, Nick Wat­ney and Sean O’Hair.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Jor­dan Spi­eth en­dured a roller-coaster of a day in which four bo­geys and a dou­ble-bo­gey and six birdies — in­clud­ing back-to-back birdies to end his round — yielded an even­par 70.

The course chal­lenges you tee-to-green but once you get it on the green you re­ally have an op­por­tu­nity to take ad­van­tage of the shots you hit in there.

PHIL MICKELSON

AFP PIC

JT Pos­ton in ac­tion at Colo­nial Coun­try Club in Fort Worth, Texas on Thurs­day.

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