Miami - Jordan Spieth won the battle of the
"Big Three" but it was Scott Piercy and Marcus Fraser atop the leader
board after the first round of the Cadillac Championship at Doral here on
The focus as the elite World Golf
Championships event teed off was firmly on the marquee group of Spieth, Jason
Day and Rory McIlroy - the top three players in the world rankings who are
grouped together for the first two rounds.
World number one Spieth had five birdies in
his three-under-par 69 that left him three shots off the lead.
Third-ranked McIlroy signed for a 71 that
ended on a sour note with a double-bogey five at the par-three ninth - where
he was in the water off the tee.
World number two Day settled for an
even-par 72 that included four birdies and four bogeys.
He was upstaged by fellow Aussie Fraser,
winner of the Maybank Championship in Malaysia a fortnight ago.
Fraser had seven birdies and was in sole
possession of the lead before his only bogey of the day at his penultimate
hole, the par-five eighth, dropped him into a tie for the lead with early
pacesetter Piercy, who had rolled in eight birdies en route to a six-under 66.
The leading duo were one shot in front of
five-time major champion Phil Mickelson.
"We all know we're trying to beat
those guys week-in, week-out," Piercy said of the marquee names chasing
him and Fraser. "They have proved it.
"I haven't proven it week-in,
week-out," added Piercy, owner of three PGA Tour titles, "but when my
game's there I'm pretty decent."
Mickelson, who has found the going
difficult at Doral in recent years, had seven birdies and two bogeys in his
Each of his bogeys was followed by a birdie
at the next hole.
"It was a good day," said
Mickelson, who claimed the most recent of his 42 career wins in 2013. "I
hit a lot of good shots, made some good putts and just drove it well."
Former world number one Adam Scott of
Australia, who won his first title in nearly two years at the Honda Classic in
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on Sunday, headlined a group sharing fourth on 68
that also included England's Danny Willett, Jason Dufner and Charley Hoffman.
Spieth was joined on 69 by Bubba Watson and
Despite the benign conditions, Spieth said
the tour of Doral's Blue Monster was the usual grind.
"It always is here," he said.
"And this would be a day that should play about as easy as it possibly can
... Still, the scores aren't extremely low."
Leading first-round scores on Thursday in the World Golf
Championships Cadillac Championship at Doral in Miami, Florida (USA
unless noted, par-72):
66 - Scott Piercy, Marcus Fraser (AUS)
67 - Phil Mickelson
68 - Danny Willett, Adam Scott (AUS), Jason Dufner, Charley Hoffman
69 - Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker, Bubba Watson
70 - Hideki Matsuyama (JPN), Jamie Donaldson (WAL), Anirban Lahiri (IND), Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar
- Kim Kyung-Tae (KOR), Andy Sullivan (ENG), Rory McIlroy (NIR), Danny
Lee (NZL), Shane Lowry (IRL), Harris English, Zach Johnson, Brooks
Koepka, Henrik Stenson (SWE), Smylie Kaufman, Russell Knox (SCO), Paul