Thursday, March 22, 2018

Peter Hanson leads Byron Nelson Championship

IRVING, Texas — Peter Hanson made his only back-nine birdie with a 6-foot putt at the 18th hole Thursday to close out a 5-under 65 for a one-stroke lead over David Duval and two others after the first round of the Byron Nelson Championship.

"Always nice to get off to a fast start," said Hanson, who is seeking his first PGA Tour win after joining the tour full time last season.

Duval, ranked 890th in the world 15 years after being No. 1, birdied his last three holes, Nos. 7-9, after pitching in from 57 feet for another birdie at the fifth hole.

Marc Leishman and Tim Wilkinson matched Duval at 66.

Hanson made the turn at 5 under after shooting 30 on the front side. He couldn't keep up the pace on the back nine at TPC Four Seasons, which he hadn't played before Thursday because of travel issues and a sore back.

All six of Hanson's birdie putts were inside 10 feet.

Hanson is making his first start since having to withdraw from the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago with the back injury. He said he was in quite a bit of pain but "really wanted to play this week."

Duval, 42, almost withdrew before the round because of a muscle issue in his right elbow that made it painful to hit balls and practice this week. About a half-hour before teeing off, he still wasn't sure he was going to play because his arm was hurting again.

"I'm tickled pink it feels as good as it does right now," Duval said after the round. "It was not good, and you know, I'm not getting to play a whole lot right now.

"It would've been a hard thing to swallow not to be able to tee off."

Martin Kaymer, the Players Championship winner Sunday, was among eight players at 67.

LPGA: Former NCAA individual champions Azahara Munoz and Austin Ernst had strong finishes to share the first-round lead in the Kingsmill Championship at 6-under 65 in Williamsburg, Va. Munoz birdied four of her last seven holes, and Ernst closed with birdies on Nos. 7 and 9. Hee Young Park shot 66, and Lexi Thompson was in a group of seven at 67.

Champions: Jay Haas, Mark Calcavecchia, Olin Browne and Chien Soon Lu shared the first-round lead in the Regions Tradition, the first of the tour's five majors, at 3-under 69. Steve Elkington, Willie Wood and Corey Pavin were one stroke back, and six players were two shots back. Tom Watson and Colin Montgomerie were in a group of 10 at par 72.