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Shane Lowry (file pic).
Shane Lowry (file pic).
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

Huh fires career-low 61 to seize early PGA Greensboro lead, Lowry 10 back

The Offaly man carded a one-over 71 opening round.
Aug 4th 2022, 11:20 PM 4,113 1

JOHN HUH FIRED a career-low nine-under par 61 to seize an early two-stroke lead in Thursday’s opening round of the US PGA’s Wyndham Championship.

The 32-year-old American made seven birdies and an eagle in a bogey-free round to grab a two-stroke lead over South Korean Im Sung-jae at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“I’m actually surprised I’m at the top of the leaderboard,” Huh said. “I didn’t really feel my game was there, but it’s one of those days where I took advantage of some good shots and good breaks.

“Shoot my career low, it’s kind of weird. Sort of mixed feeling, but I’ll take this any day.”

Shane Lowry, meanwhile, is 10 shots back after an opening one-over 71. The Offaly man had a turbulent build-up with his golf clubs going missing, but he was reunited with them yesterday.

His tumultuous few days were epitomised by a mad start on the course today: a double bogie on the first and bogies on two and four, before a stunning eagle on five, a birdie on six and another bogie on seven.

The back nine was a little steadier, with birdies on 10 and 17, but a bogie on the last hole was a disappointing way to sign off. He’s in a tie for 107th as things stand.

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Huh’s best prior PGA rounds were 62s at the 2013 Wyndham and 2016 Shriners Children’s Open.

Huh, whose only PGA title came at the 2012 Mayakoba Classic after an eight-hole playoff, sank a nine-foot birdie putt on the first hole and reeled off five consecutive birdies starting at the fourth hole.

At the par-5 15th, Huh drove the green in two and sank a 38-foot eagle putt with some help from the flagstick. He added a birdie putt from just inside four feet at the 17th and closed with a par from about the same distance.

Huh began the day 111th in FedEx Cup points with only the top 125 after Sunday’s final round qualifying for the PGA playoffs that begin next week in Memphis.

“I know what’s on the line. I know how important this tournament would be,” he said. “At the same time you’ve just got to go and play and I think I did that really well.”

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Im eagled both par-5 holes on his way to a 63 to stand second. His only equal or better rounds came in winning last October’s Shriners Children’s Open.

It’s a party in the USA as Americans Peter Malnati, Brandon Wu, Brian Stuard, Aaron Wise, Ben Kohles, Austin Smotherman, Alex Smalley and Ryan Moore, along with Australian Cameron Percy, share third on 65.

Smotherman, a rookie in the 125th and final playoff position, matched his best PGA round.

– © AFP 2022

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