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Dallas’ Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth open AT&T Byron Nelson with matching 67′s

By Shawn McFarland

MCKINNEY, Texas — Both call Dallas home. Both have a victory at the Masters. Both went to Texas, and were each serenaded with a few “hook ‘em” cheers as they approached the first tee box on Thursday for an opening round that they’d play together.

Why not continue the similarities?

Both Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth — playing their home tournament in front of a friendly crowd — posted a 5-under 67 on the opening day of the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney. Each ended their rounds with a birdie on the 18th hole, too.

The two are in a 13-way tie for 12th place alongside the likes of Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama and Colleyville resident Ryan Palmer. Neither outplayed groupmate and reigning tournament champion K.H. Lee though, who, after an 8-under 62, appears to play just as comfortably in North Texas as Scheffler and Spieth. Lee posted five birdies on the front nine and went 3-under with a 12th-hole eagle to finish round one tied for second.

UNT graduate Sebastian Munoz shot a course-record 12-under 60 on Thursday morning and ended the day with a four-shot lead for first place. Three golfers — Lee, Peter Malnati and Mito Pereira — are tied for second.

Scheffler, the world’s top-ranked golfer and a four-time PGA Tour winner this season, shot 4-under on the front nine but posted mixed results on the back. Sprinkled in between his three birdies on holes 10, 12 and 18 were a pair of bogeys.

The Highland Park graduate sailed his second shot on the 11th hole past the green and had to settle for a two-putt bogey. A short first shot on 17 landed 51 feet shy of the hole and set up a three-putt bogey.

Spieth, a graduate of Jesuit and the the ninth-ranked golfer in the world, opened his round with seven consecutive pars but went 5-under through his next six. He birdied the eighth hole and posted an eagle on nine — thanks to a 12-foot putt on his third shot — to build a bit of momentum headed into the back nine. He birdied holes 12 and 13 before a bogey on 16 marred an otherwise blemish-free first-round scorecard.

An errant tee shot on 17 that went left into a greenside bunker, but Spieth’s ensuing shot out of the sand landed a foot-and-a-half away from the hole for a par putt.

Friday was Spieth’s first round played since he won the RBC Heritage in South Carolina in April.

After a practice round on Wednesday, Spieth declared that the fairways would be harder to hit and that there’d be a premium on “driving the ball accurately.” He finished Thursday with the third-highest strokes gained off the tee (1.603) and hit 10 of 14 fairways.

The two, alongside Lee, will tee off on Friday at 7:56 a.m. on the 10th hole.

“Jordan’s an easy guy for me to play golf with and he’s fun to watch as well,” Scheffler said Wednesday. “So it should be a good time and hopefully we’ll draw a little bit of a crowd and make some birdies for them.”

Scheffler and Spieth combined for 11 birdies on Thursday. They’ll hope for more on Friday.

There’s certainly some more “hook ‘em” cheers waiting for them, too.

Zalatoris finishes 1-under: Will Zalatoris, the third leg of Dallas’ star golf trio, salvaged an up-and-down round with a birdie on the 18th hole to finish his first round with a 1-under 71, tied with several others for 79th.

Zalatoris, 25, posted two bogeys and two birdies — one of each on the front and back — before the final hole. On the par 5 18th hole, his third shot —a 39-foot putt — set him up for a five-and-a-half-foot birdie look.

The world’s 28th-ranked golfer, Zalatoris said Wednesday that TPC Craig Ranch fits his game well. He finished tied for 17th last year.

“There’s a few holes that you need to keep it front of you,” he said Wednesday. “But there’s some holes out here that you can just send it.”

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Dive Deeper:
‘What he’s doing is borderline Tigeresque’: Scottie Scheffler looking to continue dominant play with Dallas home game at AT&T Byron Nelson
“He's setting the bar pretty high right now and obviously he's kind of the guy to chase for all of…
Sexiest golfer in the world wannabe looked just fine in first round of title defense at AT&T Byron Nelson
K.H. Lee has two goals: Become the No. 1 ranked player in the world and the sexiest player in the…
40-year-old rookie David Skinns holds share of AT&T Byron Nelson lead
MCKINNEY, Texas — If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
Sebastian Munoz breaks course record, becomes first PGA Tour player to shoot 60 or better twice in a season
Using a pair of eagles and a supremely hot putter, Munoz fired his second 60 of the season, grabbing the…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Colombia's Munoz leads Spieth by one at Byron Nelson
Los Angeles (AFP) - Sebastian Munoz fired an eagle and five birdies in a six-under-par 66 on Saturday to take…
Strong Saturday gives James Hahn another chance to win Byron Nelson heading into final day
MCKINNEY, Texas – James Hahn enters Sunday’s final round of the AT&T Byron Nelson in contention – a spot that…
Get all your news in one place