Thursday, January 18, 2018
Golf

McGirt takes first-round lead at Bridgestone Invitational

AKRON, Ohio — Golf in Ohio must bring out the best in William McGirt.

One month after his first PGA Tour victory at the Memorial, McGirt looked just as good two hours up the road at the Bridgestone Invitational. In his World Golf Championship debut, he opened with six birdies and finished with a 45-foot par for 6-under 64 and a three-shot lead.

An Ohio sweep? That's only happened four times, and McGirt guessed at the answer: "Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods and Tiger Woods? That would be pretty special company."

He left out Greg Norman in 1995 (Memorial and World Series of Golf), no less a select group.

In warm sunshine and fast conditions at Firestone, Jason Day was among three at 67, and Jordan Spieth shot 68 despite having only one birdie attempt (he missed) in his first 10 holes.

"I wasn't supposed to shoot 2 under today," Spieth said.

U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson had 15 pars, two birdies and a bogey for 69.

"I didn't expect a whole lot today," Johnson said. "I always expect to play well, but this course is playing tough."

Only 17 players of the 61-man field broke par. The first round ended with only 58 players. Daniel Berger withdrew after his opening tee shot with a shoulder injury. Brooks Koepka withdrew after 13 holes with an ankle injury. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, playing at Firestone for the first time since 2009, withdrew after 78 because of a torn labrum.

The field also was missing Rory McIlroy and Masters champion Danny Willett, among several European Tour players who opted to play the French Open this week.

PGA: Martin Laird of Scotland piled up points with eight birdies to take the first-round lead of the Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nev. The tournament uses a modified Stableford scoring system, with five points for an eagle, two points for a birdie and deductions of one point for a bogey and two points for a double bogey or worst. Laird is familiar with high altitude at Montreux Golf and Country Club. He came over from Scotland to play at Colorado State, so the extra distance the ball flies was not much of an adjustment. His final birdie on the par-5 18th hole gave him 15 points, one point ahead of Gary Woodland, Camilo Villegas and Greg Chalmers.

lpga: Defending champion Brooke Henderson shot 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the Cambia Portland Classic. The 18-year-old Canadian hit 16 greens and made nine birdies on a warm, cloudless day at the 6,476-yard Columbia Edgewater course. Angela Stanford, Demi Runas and Mariajo Uribe each shot 67. Uribe and Stanford shot bogey-free rounds.

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