(Reuters) – Australian Marc Leishman, buoyed by a pair of eagles, fired a career-low 61 for a three-shot lead after the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas on Thursday while home-town favorite Jordan Spieth failed to make a move.
World number 16 Leishman, one of only four top-20 players competing this week at the links-style Trinity Forest Golf Club, carded a bogey-free 10-under-par 61 to sit three shots clear of Americans J.J. Spaun and Jimmy Walker.
Leishman could not have asked for a better start to his round as his approach from 237 yards at the par-five first hole stopped three feet from the cup, allowing him a tap-in eagle that set the stage for a memorable day.
The three-times PGA Tour winner, whose previous career-low was 62, then made birdies at the sixth and seventh holes before a scorching trip around the back nine that included four birdies and an eagle at the par-five 14th.
Spaun, who started on the 10th, made six birdies over a stunning seven-hole stretch of his back nine to sit with Walker one clear of a pack of eight that included Mexico’s Abraham Ancer and Americans Sam Saunders and Jonathan Byrd.
World number three Spieth (69), the highest-ranked player in the field, did well to erase a bogey at the par-four fifth with birdies at seven and eight but only had one more birdie the rest of the way and was in a share of 57th place.
The Dallas native, seeking his first win of the year, would love to get it his hometown this week, the event having moved after being held in nearby Irving from 1986 until last year.
Former U.S. Masters champion Adam Scott, seeking his first PGA Tour win since 2016, mixed six birdies with two bogeys to reach four-under and a share of 23rd.
Japanese world number nine Hideki Matsuyama and Spanish world number 14 Sergio Garcia carded matching one-over 72s to sit in a distant share of 120th place.
Defending champion Billy Horschel, who started on the back nine, had an eagle at the par-five 14th en route to a three-under 68 that left him seven shots back.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ian Ransom