06 Nov 2020 | Professional golf |
Aussies in bunch sprint in Houston
by Martin Blake
A cluster of Australians -- including the returning Adam Scott -- have played into contention after the first round of the PGA Tour's Houston Open. Cameron Davis, the gifted, young Sydneysider, now based in Seattle, rolled in four birdie putts on the front line at Memorial Park, his back nine for the day, to card a three-under par 67 to start the traditional Masters lead-up tournament today and had a share of the lead until American Brandt Snedeker posted a 65 late in the day.
Jason Day also is at three-under after he knocked in a short birdie putt at his last hole, the par-three ninth, to post 67 to be in a tie for second with Davis and five others.
Scott, playing his first tournament since recovering from the Covid-19 virus, was just as much of an eyecatcher on the first day.
Having spent the past couple of weeks quarantined in Los Angeles after a positive test to the virus, Scott took double bogey five at his second hole, the par-three 11th, after needing a penalty drop. But the Queenslander was brilliant on the front nine, his second nine of the day, including a superb mid-iron for a birdie at the long par-three seventh.
Scott shot a 68 to be tied eighth along with veteran Greg Chalmers, who also enjoyed a good day in his adopted home state.
There are five Australians inside the top 20 on the leaderboard including Matt Jones, who carded an opening 69. Davis made 11 cuts in 20 starts in the 2019-20 season, logged his first two top-10 finishes and reached the playoffs for the first time, earning $US 857,000, and he was sixth at the Sanderson Farms event at the beginning of the new season a month ago. He is the 2017 Australian Open champion and previously was an Australian Amateur champion as well, hailing from Monash Country Club. Today, he said the bouncy greens reminded him of playing at home Down Under.
"I played really solid, to be honest, the last couple days," he said afterward. "I was trying to find my rhythm again, so it was a little bit scratchy when I went out there and played. It was feeling really tough, but today I feel like I warmed up pretty well and getting off to a good start was great. I think especially playing first off, playing off 10, because one would have been absolutely brutal playing as a first hole. "So I took advantage of a couple of good early shots, kind of stumbled a little bit through the middle of the round, but it was really nice to do a lot of really good ball-striking coming in. It's nice to get off to a good start on a tough golf course like this because every round's really important out here, you can't really afford to have a stumble."
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