15 years after reaching No. 1 in the world golf rankings, David Duval is close to the top of the leaderboard after the first round at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, TX. Making birdies on three holes in a row, Duval fired a 4-under 66 and trails Peter Hanson of Sweden by one shot.
Currently ranked No. 890 in the world, the 42-year-old Duval almost withdrew from the tournament because pain in his right elbow had made it difficult to hit practice shots all week. He was still unsure as little as 30 minutes before his tee time on Thursday. Duval told reporters after the round that he was “just glad I teed off today,” adding that he was not sure he would make it. In addition to his string of three birdies on the 7th-9th holes, he also pitched in from 57 feet out on the par-3 fifth hole. In all, Duval had six birdies and two bogeys.It was a memorable day for Duval, who has not had the lead after any round since 2002 in Las Vegas. He has 13 PGA Tour wins, and is the 2001 British champion.
Hanson, the 36-year-old Swede, had six birdies on the day and one bogey over 18 holes of the TPC Four Seasons golf course. Five of his birdies were on the front nine, as he made the turn at 30. His back nine was rather mundane, with one birdie and one bogey. It was a superb ball-striking day at the HP Byron Nelson Championship for Hanson, as all six of his birdie putts were from less than 10 feet.
Two other golfers, Mark Leishman and Tim Wilkinson, are tied for second place at the HP Byron Nelson Championship with Duval at 4-under. Leishman, from Australia, made five birdies to go with one bogey, hitting 13 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in his first round.
Another shot back with an opening round of 67 was last week’s Players Championship winner Martin Kaymer. He is tied with eight others for fifth at 3-under. The large group of golfers who are three strokes in back at 2-under include Louis Oosthuizen, Charles Howell III, Gary Woodland, Ryan Moore and Paddy Harrington. Vijay Singh, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker lead a group of 16 players who finished their first round at the HP Byron Nelson Championship at 1-under par.
LPGA Kingsmill Championship – Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson are just two of the names who are within two shots of the lead at the Kingsmill Championship on the LPGA Tour. Kerr and Thompson both fired 4-under par 67s on Thursday in the first round. The tournament is being led by a pair of former NCAA individual champions. Austin Ernst and Azahara Munoz share the lead at 6-under par heading into Friday’s play at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, VA.
South Korean Hee Young Park sits alone in third after a first-round 66, 5-under par. There are six other golfers tied with Kerr and Thompson at 67, including Brittany Lange and Lizette Salas.
Golf Shots is a daily series which provides analysis and commentary on the PGA tour and golf-related topics all year long.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky