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Mahan shoots 62 to take lead in The Barclays

Mahan shoots 62 to take lead in The Barclays

Hunter Mahan opened with an eagle and shot a 9-under 62 to take a four-stroke lead Thursday at The Barclays, the first event in the U.S. PGA Tour's FedEx Cup "playoffs".
Playing in calm morning conditions at demanding Ridgewood Country Club, Mahan split the fairway with his opening drive, then watched his 98-yard sand wedge shot spin back into the hole for an eagle.
"I was surprised to shoot so low," Mahan said. "I didn't have any idea what was going to be a good score out here. ... It's definitely not that easy. It's perfect conditions. You've got great weather. The course is in perfect shape right now. Playing in the morning helped a lot. The greens were a little bit more receptive."
Two weeks ago in the U.S. PGA Championship at Oakland Hills, the 26-year-old shot 81-79 to miss the cut, and made news with critical remarks about the Ryder Cup in a Golf magazine interview.
"I wanted to get that out of my system and just play golf today _ and I did," Mahan said. "It was a pretty tough week, but you learn from your mistakes."
England's Paul Casey shot a 66, and Bo Van Pelt, Kevin Streelman, Mathew Goggin, Charley Hoffman and afternoon starter Dudley Hart had 67s. Steve Stricker, the winner last year at Westchester Country Club, topped the group at 68.
Trying to earn a spot on the Ryder Cup team as one of Paul Azinger's four captain's picks, Mahan hit 11 of 14 fairways, 15 greens in regulation and needed only 23 putts.
"The greens are good. I mean, they're perfect. Perfect speed," Mahan said. "I think you can be aggressive. I was committed to my lines and made aggressive strokes."
Mahan birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 7, holing putts from 21, 12 and 4 feet, to get to 5 under. He bogeyed the par-3 eighth, got the stroke back with a 7-foot birdie putt on No. 10 and added a 14-footer on 12.
On the 615-yard, par-5 13th, he hammered a 332-yard drive, hit a 3-wood 265 yards to just short of the green and chipped to 4 feet to set up another birdie. He followed that with a curving 40-footer on the par-3 14th, and capped the round on the par-4 18th with a 180-yard shot to 3 feet for his eighth birdie.
Mahan, 31st in the FedEx Cup standings, established the course record in the first U.S. PGA Tour round on the A.W. Tillinghast-designed layout _ a composite of Ridgewood's three nine-hole courses.
"I thought the scores weren't going to be as low," Phil Mickelson said after his morning 70. "Hunter had such a great round and there were some 4- or 5-under par rounds. So my 1-under par round is not as good as I thought it would be, but I thought I played well and I'll take it."
With the groupings based on FedEx Cup points, Mickelson played alongside British Open and PGA winner Padraig Harrington (72) and Kenny Perry (69), effectively the points leader with top-ranked Tiger Woods sidelined by a knee injury.


Updated : 2021-09-20 08:19 GMT+08:00