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Peter Uihlein grabs first-round lead at Shriners Open

UPDATED: Thu., Nov. 1, 2018

Peter Uihlein lines up his putt on the ninth green en route to the first-round lead at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on Thursday in Las Vegas. (Richard Brian / AP)
Peter Uihlein lines up his putt on the ninth green en route to the first-round lead at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on Thursday in Las Vegas. (Richard Brian / AP)
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS – Peter Uihlein topped the leaderboard at 8-under 63 on Thursday in the Shriners Hospitals For Children Open, with Jordan Spieth three strokes back in his season debut.

Uihlein birdied six of his final nine holes in the morning round at TPC Summerlin.

“It’s nice to get off to a good start, especially when there wasn’t much wind,” Uihlein said. “I’ve heard mixed reviews on the forecast this week, so nice to get off to a good start and take advantage of good conditions early.”

Seth Reeves shot 64, electing to finish the par-5 ninth after the horn sounded suspending play because of darkness.

“I had to stop because of darkness last week and it’s just, you have rhythm out here when you’re playing good, especially,” Reeves said. “Then when I heard what the restart time was, basically an hour and five minutes before my original tee time. My hotel is 30 minutes away. I’m just like, ‘Man, I’m feeling good. I would rather finish.’ I feel like that will do me better for the morning round, to get an extra hour of the sleep.”

Harold Varner III and Robert Streb were two strokes back at 65.

Spieth shot 66 in his first career start in a domestic fall event.

“It’s gettable without the wind,” Spieth said. “We got really, really good conditions this morning, so an 8 under, certainly thought that was out there. To see Peter shoot that was no surprise. Then the guys in the afternoon are going to have it tougher. Looks like we might get the good end of the draw. It’s always nice having a little bit of luck in Vegas, right?”

Fellow U.S. Ryder Cup player Bryson DeChambeau also was at 66 with Si Woo Kim, Whee Kim, Sebastian Munoz, Sam Ryder and Abraham Ancer.

Spokane’s Alex Prugh is tied for 19th after opening with a 3-under 68, while Clarkston native Joel Dahmen shot an even-par 71 to tie for 71st.

“It was a good round for sure,” DeChambeau said. “Unfortunately, had a couple three-putts and had some missed opportunities, but I’m a little rusty on the putting green.”

DeChambeau and Spieth joined losing Ryder Cup teammates Webb Simpson, Tony Finau and Rickie Fowler and U.S. captain Jim Furyk in the field. Fowler and Simpson shot 68s in the same group, Finau had a 69, and Furyk a 71.

Spieth is playing for the first time since the Ryder Cup and making his first stroke-play start since the BMW Championship in early September.

“It’s been really the last kind of six tournaments or so of the regular season, too, I started to clean up kind of in the setup and vision,” Spieth said. “It’s getting close to where I feel like I can just kind of point, aim, shoot, which is where I want to be.”

Uihlein opened on the back nine, backing birdies on Nos. 11, 14 and 15. Riding a hot putter on the second nine, he birdied the first four holes, added another on No. 6, bogeyed the par-4 seventh and rebounded with a birdie on the par-5 ninth.

“I hadn’t been putting great the first few weeks of the season,” Uihlein said. “I put in a lot of work last week for a few days and switched putters, so it’s nice to kind of see that hard work kind of pay off this quickly. Wasn’t really expecting it.”

The son of Acushnet/Titleist chairman and CEO Wally Uihlein, the 29-year-old former Oklahoma State player is winless on the PGA Tour. He won the 2010 U.S. Amateur, took the European Tour’s 2013 Madeira Islands Open and the Tour’s 2017 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship.

“I’ve always believed the game of golf is more of a marathon and a journey and not a sprint,” Uihlein said. “It’s one of those things, if you keep working hard, keep your head down, keep focused, stay disciplined, results will follow. You’re not really trying to press or force anything.”

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