3 teams share Shootout lead

Tempo - - Sports -

MI­AMI (AFP) – Birdies abounded at Tiburon Golf Club Fri­day, where three teams fired 59s in the scram­ble for­mat first round of the QBE Shootout in Naples, Flor­ida.

Amer­i­cans Kevin Na and Bryson DeCham­beau had 11 birdies and an ea­gle in their 13-un­der ef­fort.

North­ern Ire­land’s Graeme McDow­ell and Ar­gentina’s Emil­iano Grillo com­bined for an ea­gle, 13 birdies and one bo­gey while Amer­i­cans Pat­ton Kizzire and Brian Har­man nabbed 13 birdies to top the leader­board in the un­of­fi­cial event founded by Greg Nor­man.

The 30th edi­tion fea­tures 24 play­ers in 12 two-per­son teams, only two of which re­turn from 2017.

Tony Finau and Lexi Thomp­son, the only LPGA player in the field, reprise their part­ner­ship from last year and de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker also re­turned – shar­ing sev­enth place af­ter the first round on 10-un­der 62.

Eng­land’s Luke Don­ald, who missed six months with a lower back in­jury in 2018, is also test­ing his game be­fore launch­ing his 2019 cam­paign on a ma­jor med­i­cal ex­ten­sion.

“The state of the game is un­known,’’ Don­ald ad­mit­ted on Wed­nes­day.

“I’ve been able to work hard the last cou­ple months with no pain. I’ve cer­tainly been putting in the time, but to bring it from your home course out here into a com­pet­i­tive sit­u­a­tion, we’ll see how it goes,’’ he added be­fore head­ing out Thurs­day to record a nine-un­der par 63 with An­drew Landry.

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