PGA Tour

McGirt seizes three-shot lead at WGC

2016-07-01 07:13
William McGirt (Getty)

Washington - William McGirt opened up a record three-shot opening round lead but world No 1 Jason Day and No 2 Jordan Spieth were also in the hunt at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Thursday.

McGirt set a tournament record for the largest first-round lead by firing a six-under 64 as he aims for his second win in Ohio in just four weeks.

McGirt won the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio in a playoff in early June for his first USPGA Tour victory.

"I don't know, maybe it's something with Ohio I like," McGirt said.

Australia's Day shot a three-under 67 and is tied for second with Emiliano Grillo and Jimmy Walker at the Firestone Country Club course in Akron, Ohio.

"It was just kind of a weird feeling of a day where I kind of made some good pars, kept the momentum going, and all of a sudden I shot 67," Day said. "I've just got to keep grinding."

Spieth is one stroke behind Day with a 68. He is tied with three others - Anirban Lahiri, Charley Hoffman and Rickie Fowler.

Dustin Johnson, who is fresh off his first major championship win at the US Open, is also lurking near the leader board after shooting an even-par 70. He is tied with Japan's Hideki Matsuyama and England's Paul Casey.

McGirt, who is making his World Golf Championship debut, made six birdies and finished off his round with a 45-foot par save.

Spieth made several nice par saves to remain close to the leaders. He hit just one green in regulation on the front nine.

Spieth then closed with four birdies. He needed just 21 putts during his round and chipped in for par at No 8.

"I'm really just searching for something that isn't far off," Spieth said. "It's close. It's almost there. And when it clicks, we're definitely in business the way the short game is."

Johnson's round included two birdies and one bogey. Johnson is tied with Billy Hurley, who won the Quicken Loans National tournament last week.

"I didn't expect a whole lot today," Johnson said. "I always expect to play well, but this golf course is playing tough."

Defending champion Shane Lowry, who finished in a tie for second at the US Open two weeks ago, stumbled to a six-over 78.

Leading scores after the first round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio (USA unless stated):

64 - William McGirt

67 - Emiliano Grillo (ARG), Jimmy Walker, Jason Day (AUS)

68 - Anirban Lahiri (IND), Charley Hoffman, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth

69 - Branden Grace (RSA), Billy Hurley, Scott Piercy, Harris English, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner, Vaughn Taylor, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose

Read more on:    golf

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