Trio on top of Heritage
Chad Campbell used a fast start and Vaughn Taylor and Colt Knost had strong finishes to share the first-round lead at 4-under-par 67 in the RBC Heritage on Thursday.
Campbell birdied four of his first seven holes, Knost birdied three of his last five, and Taylor holed out from the fairway for a closing eagle on the par-4 ninth hole at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Jim Furyk, the 2010 winner, was a stroke back along with Harris English, Charlie Wi, and Matt Every. Forty-two players, including John Daly in just his second PGA Tour event this year, were at even par or better.
Masters winner Bubba Watson took the week off as did most players ranked in the world’s top 20. No. 1 Luke Donald, who has been second, third, and second here the past three years, opened with a 75. He has to finish in the top eight or surrender the top spot to No. 2 Rory McIlroy next week.
Campbell got it going quickly with an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 2 and then consecutive birdies on the fourth and fifth holes. He moved to 4 under two holes later, rolling in a 20-footer for birdie. Campbell added a final birdie on the 15th.
Campbell said the wind reminded him of his days playing golf in West Texas. “Other than the trees and the ocean,’’ he joked.
Taylor caught Campbell with his stunning shot from 103 yards out on his final hole, the ninth. Taylor, a native of Augusta, Ga., also has struggled and teed off at the Heritage on a sponsor’s exemption. He fell back to even par with a double bogey on the 16th hole before heating up on his last nine. He made birdies on the second, fourth, and seventh holes before stunning the gallery - and himself - with his on-target sand wedge.
European/Asian - Charl Schwartzel of South Africa shot an 8-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur.
The 2011 Masters champion birdied five holes on the front nine and four on the back.
Jeev Milkha Singh of India was next. He was followed by 2012 Masters runner-up Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, India’s Jyoti Randhawa, and Jason Knutzon of the United States at 6 under.
Having traveled 30 hours to reach Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club after playing at Augusta, Schwartzel and Oosthuizen played together but neither expected to dominate in such style. Between them, they made 15 birdies and an eagle.