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Dublin: 2°C Wednesday 14 April 2021
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Shane Lowry in contention as Matt Kuchar earns Phoenix Open lead

Lowry is five shots off the pace after the opening round in Arizona.

A SOLID START by Ireland’s Shane Lowry leaves him five shots off the pace after the first 18 holes at the Phoenix Open.

The Offaly man bogeyed the first, before hitting three birdies in the next four holes on the way to recording a 69 at the TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course.

Matt Kuchar shot -7 and holds a one-stroke lead over Hideki Matsuyama and Brendan Steele.

Padraig Harrington finds himself one over after a 72 where he bogeyed the sixth and 12th, but managed a birdie on 13.

American Kuchar was flawless as he took charge after the opening round.

A lot of eyes are on Dubai this week to watch Tiger Woods’ second attempt at a comeback, but the PGA Tour is partying in Arizona thanks to Kuchar and Co.

With the stadium atmosphere in place on the famed par-three 16th hole, the Phoenix Open has become golf’s most entertaining event of the season.

The seven-time PGA Tour champion played his last six holes in four under after birdieing his first two holes of the day.

Red-hot Matsuyama, who has four wins and two runner-up finishes in his last eight starts and is defending his title this week, posted a blemish-free 65.

Steele also shot a six under after starting out seven under through his first 10 holes.

Chris Kirk is among five players tied at five under.

Big names such as Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Steve Stricker and J.B. Holmes had 67s.

Phil Mickelson got off to a hot start, but he stalled in a three-under 68.

Justin Thomas, who has already won three times this season and shot a 59, finished with a 69 after a rocky start. He rebounded with birdies on three of his last six holes.

Additional reporting by Kevin O’Brien

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