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Three Share Lead in RBC Heritage
Matt Kuchar, Scott Langley and William McGirt each fired 5-under 66s to take a share of the 18-hole lead in the RBC Heritage. The $5.8 million PGA Tour event began on a chilly, blustery Thursday at the Pete Dye-designed Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C.
Beginning play on the 10th tee, Kuchar, who finished tied for fifth in last week's Masters, posted two birdies on the opening nine before adding three more on the back for a flawless card.
The easygoing Georgian had no problem getting up for this week's tournament after the intense Masters. "You have a couple of days to unwind after a major, and then Thursday starts and then you've got a chance to play another PGA Tour event," he told PGATour.com. "It's pretty easy to get excited for this."
He expects other players who were at Augusta National to have the same mindset. "Certainly you're so tested at the Masters, and you have to be so precise around major championship golf that I think a lot of times guys next week they're a little more alert, a little more sharp because of the precision required at major championships," Kuchar added.
"I think you're going to see a lot of guys, if they're not maybe too run down from a major championship, come out and play some pretty good golf the week following."
Langley, a 24-year-old Missourian, got off to a spectacular start with six birdies - including five over the second through seventh holes - and a bogey on the front nine to make the turn in 5-under 31. The Tour rookie couldn't keep up his torrid pace on the home half, however, with a birdie and a bogey and an even-par 35.
McGirt, a 34-year-old North Carolinian in search of his first Tour victory, also had a great front nine - with five birdies, but only mustered a birdie and a bogey on the back side.
Alone in fourth after a 3-under 68 is Harris English, while tied for fifth after 69s are Scotland's Russell Knox, Australia's Robert Allenby, South African Rory Sabbatini, and Americans Billy Horschel, Matt Every, Bo Van Pelt, Brian Harman, Ben Martin, Tim Herron, Brian Stuard, John Mallinger, Lucas Glover, Jordan Spieth, Kevin Streelman and Charles Howell III.
The 20-year-Spieth is paired in the first two rounds with veterans Tom Watson and Davis Love III. Watson is 64 and Love turned 50 on April 13. Watson, the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team captain, is a two-time winner at Harbour Town and Love - the 2012 Ryder Cup captain - has won the tournament a record five times.
During a brief TV interview, Spieth said of his playing partners, "I hope I can conduct myself on and off the course as well as them."
The Dallas native said on the eve of the tournament he was anticipating his pairing with Watson. "A huge goal of mine has always been, my whole life, to make a Ryder Cup team," said Spieth, who finished as the runner-up in last week's Masters to winner Bubba Watson. "So playing with the captain, I'm sure there will be some extra nerves there trying to impress him."
Watson told the media on Wednesday that he's impressed with the poise of the young Spieth. "He's very mature and he has a good sense of who he is," the World Golf Hall of Fame member said. "I like that about him."
Love was among 15 players carding 70s, while Watson opened with a 75.
Defending champion Graeme McDowell posted an even-par 71. Nick Faldo, playing at Harbour Town for the first time since 2006, opened with a 77. He won his first U.S. title there 30 years ago.
Jason Day was slated to play in the RBC Heritage this week but withdrew on Wednesday. The Aussie had a cast placed on his left hand to immobilize his injured thumb and isn't expected to return until the Players Championship in three weeks. Day injured the digit while winning the Accenture Match Play Championship in February, and took six weeks off in advance of the Masters, which he played but barely made the cut.
Australian Greg Chalmers withdrew due to a back injury after playing eight holes.
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