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Seamus Power off to promising start after hitting five birdies at Travelers Championship

The Waterford native is currently two shots off the lead in Connecticut.

Power has enjoyed an encouraging start at River Highlands.
Power has enjoyed an encouraging start at River Highlands.
Image: William Howard

SEAMUS POWER ENJOYED a promising start at the 2019 Travelers Championship late on Thursday, hitting five birdies during an impressive opening round at TPC River Highlands.

Power currently sits four under par — two shots behind Ryan Armour, Bronson Burgoon, Kyoung-Hoon Lee, Abraham Ancer, Mackenzie Hughes and Zack Sucher — who share a six-way tie for the lead.

Padraig Harrington posted an opening round 68, sitting two under par and four strokes off the lead in Connecticut.

South Korea’s Kyoung-hoon and Mexico’s Ancer forced their way into the six-way tie at the top of the leaderboard on a low-scoring first round. Lee and Ancer joined Armour, Burgoon, Sucher and Hughes in the lead after carding six-under-par 64s in benign conditions in Cromwell.

Ancer forced his way into the leadership picture with a superb performance down the stretch, making five birdies on the back nine after reaching the turn at one under for the day.

Armour, Burgoon, Sucher and Hughes meanwhile all ensured their places at the top of the leaderboard after draining birdies on their final holes. Of the leading pack, none was more pleased than Burgoon, who has endured a nightmare 2019 which has seen him miss the cut in 10 of his 14 starts.

The most recent of those came at Memorial, where he failed to make the weekend after reaching the halfway stage at three over.

“Right after Memorial I was in a pretty dark place when it came to my golf game,” said Burgoon.

GOLF: JUN 07 PGA - RBC Canadian Open Harrington is four shots off the lead after the opening round in Cromwell. Source: Gerry Angus

“I took two weeks off and regrouped and refocused and got a lot of really good work in,” added the 32-year-old Texan, who is still looking for his first PGA Tour title.

“It has been kind of a rough year for me. I struggled. I guess struggled would be an understatement.”

The leading pack were one shot clear of a group of six players who finished the day on five under. They included England’s Paul Casey, and America’s Chez Reavie and Keegan Bradley.

For US-based world number 15 Casey, the grim, damp conditions were an unwelcome reminder of the climate he had left behind in his homeland.

“I don’t like the rain,” Casey said afterwards. “That’s why I live in Arizona. I can’t stand this, and I get it so often, ‘Oh, you’re from England. You must be used to this.’ It’s like, I’m not used to it; 22 years I’ve lived in the States. I’m not used to rain. I can’t stand it.”

Elsewhere Thursday, Phil Mickelson shrugged off his latest failed attempt to win the US Open at Pebble Beach with a three-under-par 67.

Bubba Watson, winner at the Travelers in 2010, 2015 and 2018, was five off the pace after posting a one-under-par 69.

Brooks Koepka, who finished runner-up at Pebble Beach, had a testing day with four bogeys and three birdies to card a one-over 71. It was only his third over-par score in his past 22 rounds at strokeplay events.

- © AFP, 2019

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