Birdie barrage boosts Clark to Phoenix Open lead

Los Angeles: Wyndham Clark fired 10 birdies in a 10-under par 61 on Thursday to grab a two-shot lead over fellow American Billy Horschel in the US PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open.
Amid the always raucous crowds at TPC Scottsdale, Clark teed off on 10 and rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt at the 12th.
After another birdie at 13 he picked up three in a row at 15, 16 and 17.
He strung another three together at the first, second and third — where he blasted out of a greenside bunker to five feet and made the putt — and birdied seven and eight for good measure.
Clark seized the solo lead with a birdie at the par-three seventh, where he stuck his tee shot three feet from the pin, and made it a two-shot advantage with an 11-foot birdie putt at eight.
“I hit a lot of fairways and I just gave myself a lot of looks and the putter was hot,” Clark said.
A red-hot putter fueled Horschel, who had six birdies and an eagle in his eight-under 63.
Horschel rolled in two birdie putts from outside 25 feet and one from 41 feet, along with a par-saving 45 footer.
His eagle at the par-five third hole didn’t need that kind of putting aplomb after he landed his second shot five feet from the hole.
JB Holmes used an eagle hole-in-one at the par-three third and eight birdies to overcome an early double-bogey and a bogey, his seven-under 64 putting him alone in third.
He stormed home with three straight birdies, including a 25-footer at the 18th. “The first five holes were up there, quite a bit of a roller-coaster,” said Holmes, who had the ace, one birdie, one par and one double-bogey through five.
Holmes, seeking a third win in the Arizona desert, has played with elbow trouble for years and said he improved mid-round after attention from his trainer around the ninth and 10th holes.— AFP

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