HILTON HEAD – Ireland’s Shane Lowry shot a bogey-free round of 6-under-par 65 on Thursday to claim a one-shot lead after the first round of the RBC Heritage.
Playing in the morning wave, Lowry birdied four holes during a seven-hole stretch at Harbour Town GL and no one was able to catch him.
Americans Daniel Berger, Luke List, Ryan Moore, Trey Mullinax and Ryan Palmer are one shot back at 5 under, with another group of eight players that includes 18th-ranked Patrick Cantlay another shot off the pace.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is tied for 15th at 3-under par, with his 68 on Thursday his lowest career opening round in the event. Johnson said he drove the ball well all day in posting four birdies, with his lone blemish a three-putt bogey on the par-3 seventh hole.
“It was a really solid day,” Johnson, who reclaimed the No. 1 spot after tying for second at last week’s Masters, told reporters. “I was in position all day. I drove it nicely, hit some good iron shots. The wind is always a little tricky around here.
“The only bogey I made I missed a short putt there on 7. Other than that, I felt like I gave myself a chance all day.”
FedEx Cup leader Matt Kuchar is tie for 27th at 2 under, along with Zach Johnson and a host of others. They are a shot ahead of Bryson DeChambeau and England’s Ian Poulter, and two shots better than Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele, who was part of that tie for second at the Masters.
Italy’s Francesco Molinari, coming off his disappointing final round at Augusta National, struggled to a 3-over 74 and is tied for 111th.
Dustin Johnson will go out in the morning wave on Friday, when winds are expected to blow between 25-35 mph with rain also in the forecast as the day progresses.
“The weather is going to be here in the morning,” he told reporters. “It’s supposed to blow all day tomorrow. So, yeah, it’s going to be difficult. This golf course is tough enough as it is. Just add wind blowing 30 – it’s going to make it a little bit tougher.
“Just shooting a decent score tomorrow is going to be really, really important.”
NOTES: Five-time event champion Davis Love III withdrew after leaving Wednesday’s pro-am for the birth of his third grandchild. He was replaced by Scott Langley, who is 3 under. … England’s Luke Donald, a five-time runner-up at Harbour Town, is tied for 39th at 1 under. … Defending champion Satoshi Kodaira of Japan is tied for 93rd after shooting a 2-over 73, same as South Korea’s Si Woo Kim, whom Kodaira defeated in a playoff last year.