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Hodges holds PGA Tour 3M Open lead


‘Really committed to every shot out there, hit a lot of really good ones.’


MINNESOTA (AFP) — Lee Hodges sizzled in sweltering conditions Thursday, grabbing eight birdies in an eight-under par 63 to take a one-shot first-round lead at the US PGA Tour 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota.

Hodges opened with three straight birdies at the 10th, 11th and 12th holes at TPC Twin Cities. He tapped in from inches away at the 10th then rolled in a 32-footer at 11.

He made another trio of birdies around the turn at 18, one and two, then put together back-to-back birdies at six and seven to break free of a group of four players sharing second on seven-under 64.

“Everything,” Hodges said of what went well. “Really committed to every shot out there, hit a lot of really good ones.”

Hodges, chasing a first US PGA Tour title, said poor starts had contributed to three missed cuts in his last four events, so his strong start was key.

“To see that wedge shot go to an inch on the first hole and then make that 40-footer on the second hole, I was like, “All right, here we go, might as well make a lot of birdies if we’re going to make a couple.”

The quartet on seven-under included former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, who had seven birdies without a bogey.

Brandt Snedeker and Tyler Duncan also had seven birdies and no bogeys while Kevin Streelman joined the group with an eagle at the 18th, capping a round that also featured six birdies and one bogey.

“All in all it was very solid, didn’t miss too many and made an awesome finish there, a great three-iron into 18 and then buried the putt,” said Streelman after drilling a 16-footer.

Matsuyama played before the worst of the afternoon’s gusty winds, but he needed some treatment for mild heat-related symptoms after his round.

“It got really hot out there on the back nine,” the Japanese star said. “I’ll relax this afternoon and hopefully get ready to play well again tomorrow.”


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