Sat, Aug 08, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Danny Lee sets the pace at Firestone with an opening 65

Reuters, AKRON, Ohio

Former teenage prodigy Danny Lee birdied three of his first four holes en route to a one-shot lead in the opening round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Thursday.

On a day when Jordan Spieth finished five strokes off the pace, the 25-year-old Lee, who won his first PGA Tour title in a playoff at the Greenbrier Classic last month, fired a five-under 65 at Firestone.

He ended a challenging day one ahead of Jim Furyk of the US and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.

Texan Spieth birdied his final hole for a 70 in the third of four World Golf Championships events to be held this year.

“Making birdie to shoot even feels better than making bogey to shoot one-under,” Masters and US Open champion Spieth told reporters after his first competitive round since his tie for fourth at The Open last month.

“That’s just the way it works. It was a nice finish. I hit three really good shots. Feels good to take that momentum and see one kind of fall in the lip,” he said of his seven-foot birdie putt at the par-four 18th. “I had quite a few that looked pretty good today that just didn’t quite go. As far as my first round back after a couple-week layover, I’m pleased with the way we finished.”

While Spieth was not quite at his best on the firm Firestone greens, Lee celebrated “a good day” as he accrued seven birdies and two bogeys to take the outright lead.

“I was hitting it that good and I was very happy with my result,” said Lee, 25, who was born in South Korea, but is a citizen of New Zealand where he spent his youth.Veteran Furyk, a 17-time winner on the PGA Tour, was also at five-under with one hole to play, but bogeyed the par-four last after being unable to get up and down from behind a tree in the right rough, 38 yards short of the green.

Several players istruggled in the firm conditions. Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson carded a 76 and fellow American Troy Merritt ballooned to an 82 just four days after winning the Quicken Loans National.

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