Kuchar shares lead at Harbour Town
Hilton Head Island, SC (SportsNetwork.com) - Matt Kuchar carded a 5-under 66 on Thursday and that gave him a share of the lead after the opening round of the Heritage.
Kuchar, who shared fifth at the Masters, was joined atop the leaderboard by Scott Langley and William McGirt, both of whom are looking for their first PGA Tour title.
Harris English opened with a 3-under 68 and he is alone in fourth place at Harbour Town Golf Links.
Jordan Spieth, who shared second at the Masters last week, managed a 2-under 69. He was joined there by 14 other players, including Kevin Streelman, who shared third place at this event last year.
Kuchar played the back nine first and opened with three pars in a row. At the 13th, he poured in a 24-footer for birdie and he came back two holes later with a 9-foot birdie putt on the par-5 15th.
After four straight pars around the turn, Kuchar drained an 18-foot putt for birdie on the par-5 second. He made a 6-footer for birdie at the next par-5, No. 5, to move to minus-4.
Kuchar, the fifth-ranked player in the world, closed his bogey-free round with a 15-foot birdie effort on the ninth.
"You have a couple of days to unwind after a major, and then Thursday starts and then you've got a chance to play another PGA Tour event. It's pretty easy to get excited for this," Kuchar stated. "Certainly you're so tested at the Masters, and you have to be so precise around major championship golf that I think a lot of times guys next week they're a little more alert, a little more sharp because of the precision required at major championships."
Langley and McGirt were in the first group out off the first tee in the afternoon wave. Langley 2-putted for birdie on the second and came back two holes later with a 5-foot birdie putt on the fourth.
The 25-year-old got up and down for birdie on No. 5, then converted a 9-foot putt for birdie at the sixth. Langley's tee shot at the par-3 seventh stopped three feet from the hole and he knocked that in for his fourth straight birdie.
Langley missed a short par putt on the eighth, but recovered that stroke with a kick-in birdie on the ninth. He grabbed the lead with a 17-foot birdie putt at the 14th, but failed to par the last to fall back into a share of the lead.
McGirt started his own birdie run with a 9-footer at the second. He came right back with a birdie at the third and a 15-footer on No. 4. McGirt made it four in a row as he drained a 21-foot birdie effort on the fifth.
After three pars in a row, McGirt gained a piece of the lead when he dropped in a 12-foot birdie chance on No. 9. He parred the first five holes around the turn.
McGirt missed the green with his third to the par-5 15th. He chipped to 13 feet, but failed to convert the par-saving effort. He regained a piece of the lead at the 17th, where he holed a bunker shot for birdie.
NOTES: Kuchar has made the cut in nine of his previous 10 starts at the Heritage ... There has never been a left-handed player win this event, but Langley hopes to reverse that this week ... Defending champion Graeme McDowell posted an even-par 72 and is tied for 36th ... Greg Chalmers withdrew with a back injury during the first round.
04/17 19:35:26 ET