SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Russell Knox made four straight birdies on the back nine on his way to a one-shot lead after the first round of the Valero Texas Open on Thursday.
Knox was one stroke ahead of Rasmus Hojgaard after finishing his round at TPC San Antonio with a seven-foot putt to rescue par on the par-5 18th.
Despite a double bogey on his final hole, Hojgaard shot a 66. After an opening 5-under 67, Matt Kuchar sits one stroke behind Denny McCarthy, Aaron Rei, and J.J. Spaun in a group that includes Denny McCarthy, Aaron Rei, and J.J. Spaun.
Jordan Spieth, the defending champion, and Rory McIlroy tied for second place with an even-par 72. After one round, they were outside the top 60 and may make the cut on Friday.
Bryson DeChambeau had a 73, which was one over par. He made bogey on four of his last six holes after holing a bunker shot for eagle on his 11th hole and following it up with a birdie on the next.
Knox, a 32-year-old Scot with two PGA Tour victories under his belt, began his birdie streak at No. 12. His birdie putts were all within 10 feet. Following his approach, he was roughly 20 feet out from a back pin position on the 15th and chipped in from the fringe. In the round, it was his second chip-in.
Knox stated, “That was one of those extra birdies that you need when you’re going to have a fantastic day.” “It’s clear that you’re pleased with the result. It’s more like how I’d like to play.”
Hogjaard, a 21-year-old Dane who has won twice on the European Tour, was aiming for the first-round lead as he approached his final hole. His drive, on the other hand, flew considerably left of the fairway. On the par-4 ninth, he needed four strokes to reach the green.
He explained, “I had to chip sideways back into the fairway.” “After that, I was just a little too forceful.” Yes, I was short-sided and didn’t get up and down, and then you suddenly walk away with a double-bogey. That was a little inconvenient, but it happens.”
After 11 holes, Kuchar was 5 under par. On the next hole, he failed to get up and down and missed a seven-foot par putt from 30 feet out. With a birdie on his 14th hole, he clawed back a shot and parred out, falling short of matching his season-best round of 64 at the Sony Open, where he finished in the top 10.
“On this course, there’s a lot of good and bad that can happen,” Kuchar remarked. “I was kind of winging it early in the round and then found something on the fifth or sixth hole.” I started getting some birdie opportunities late on my first nine and converted on a few.”
On the PGA Tour, Kuchar has nine victories. McCarthy, Rai, and Spaun are on the lookout for their very first job.
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