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Kuchar in three-way tie for Mayakoba Classic lead


Mexico City: US veteran Matt Kuchar, seeking his first US PGA Tour win since 2014, fired a seven-under par 64 on Thursday to share the Mayakoba Classic lead with Kramer Hickock and Dominic Bozzelli.

Each of the co-leaders played without a bogey on the El Camaleon Golf Club course in Play del Carmen, Mexico.

Kuchar missed just two of 14 fairways on his way to his lowest opening round on tour since a 64 in the 2017 Phoenix Open.

The 40-year-old won the most recent of his seven titles at the 2014 RBC Heritage. He said the relaxed atmosphere at the Mexican resort contributed to his productive day.

“It’s been a little bit of a working vacation,” said Kuchar, who brought his family to Play del Carmen. “But I had a good time at the office today as well.”

The family vibe continued in Kuchar’s group when his wife, Sybi, stepped in for playing partner Zach Johnson’s ailing caddie after nine holes. Kuchar himself had a local caddie on his bag, after his regular caddie had made other plans before Kuchar decided at the last minute to enter the tournament.

Kuchar teed off on 10 and his three birdies in his first nine holes included an 18-footer at the 16th. His four birdies coming in included three straight at four, five and six.

Bozzelli, 27, and Hickok, 26, also had seven birdies apiece.

Hickock, a buddy of three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, is playing in just his eighth PGA Tour event and his fourth this season after spending last year on the developmental tour, where he won the DAP Championship and had five other top-10 finishes.

“It’s kind of nice to look back and know that I’ve won on every stage,” said Hickcok, who was also a two-time winner on the Mackenzie Tour last year.

“I’ve been out there, and I’ve worked my way up. I’ve seen the success I’ve had on each level and knowing I’ve had the success, making the step up to the next level, I think it’s going to help me this year.”

More than half of the field of 132 posted scores in the 60s and a group of 15 players were just one behind the leaders.

That included India’s Anirban Lahiri, whose six-under effort was highlighted by an eagle at the par-five fifth, and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer.

American Rickie Fowler headlined another big group on 66.

Spieth wasn’t able to take advantage of the scoring conditions, balancing four birdies with four bogeys in an even par 71 that left him in a tie for 91st. — AFP

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