Power shoots 65 for lead at St. Jude

Manteca Bulletin - - Sports -

MEM­PHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Phil Mick­el­son got the strong fin­ish he wanted. Steve Stricker is hav­ing too much fun to just stick to the se­nior cir­cuit.

Mick­el­son and Stricker shot 4-un­der 66 on Thurs­day in the St. Jude Clas­sic, leav­ing them in an 11-player tie for sec­ond — a stroke be­hind Sea­mus Power of Ire­land. Mick­el­son matched his best open­ing round in re­la­tion to par this sea­son.

“Oh, it was a great start for me,” Mick­el­son said. “I ended up fin­ish­ing off the round. I had a nice lit­tle stretch there in the mid­dle where I went birdie, ea­gle, and I was able to fin­ish it off with some pars af­ter some poor tee shots.

“It’s a good start. It’s not like you’re try­ing to win the tour­na­ment on Thurs­day. But it’s nice not to put my­self too far be­hind so I’m play­ing catch-up. So an­other good round to­mor­row will put me right in it for the week­end.”

Power birdied his fi­nal hole for the lead over Mick­el­son, Stricker, U.S. Open cham­pion Brooks Koepka and oth­ers. He went to No. 18 tied with seven oth­ers atop the leader­board and took the lead him­self with his sec­ond birdie over his fi­nal three holes.

The 51-year-old Stricker had a long day Mon­day qual­i­fy­ing nearby for the U.S. Open. He played only six holes Tues­day and a nine-hole pro-am Wed­nes­day to rest up. He turned in a bo­gey-free round Thurs­day and capped his day chip­ping in from 34 feet for his fourth birdie. He has two top-25 fin­ishes in seven tour­na­ments on the PGA Tour this sea­son, and Stricker said he wants to show he can fin­ish off an event.

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