Fiery start powers Roach | Sports

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Wes Roach, chasing his first US PGA title, made three birdies and an eagle in the first six holes on the way to grabbing a one-stroke lead at the Palmetto Championship at Congaree.

The 32-year-old American, whose best career finish was a share of third in Detroit in 2019, fired a seven-under par 64, one off his career low, for his first overnight PGA lead.

“I did everything pretty well. I drove it nice. I putted as good as I have in a while,” Roach said. “It feels great. Hard work paying off a little bit.

“It’s just 18 holes and there’s a long way to go, but I’m just going to do my best to stay present out there and continue to hit quality shots.”

Top-ranked hometown hero Dustin Johnson fired a bogey-free 65 to share second with fellow Americans Doc Redman and Chesson Hadley and South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen while Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas was sixth on 66.

“It was a really solid day and I’m definitely pleased with the round. I’m playing well,” Johnson said.

“I’ve been swinging well for a while, just haven’t really seen the results. Made a few putts, finally put a round together. If I can keep the putter rolling it’s going to be a fun week.”

The event is a one-off replacement tournament for the Canadian Open, which was canceled due to Covid-19, and serves as the final tuneup for next week’s US Open at Torrey Pines.

Roach holed birdie putts from 10 feet at the par-5 second and seven feet at the third before holing out from 104 yards at the par-5 fourth and adding a birdie from five feet at the sixth.

“I got off to a good start, a nice up and down from the sand on one and then made a couple birdies,” Roach said. “I holed out on the fourth so that was a nice bonus as well.”

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