NEW YORK: South Korea’s Lee Kyoung-hoon and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer forced their way into a six-way tie at the top of the leaderboard on a low-scoring first round at the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship on Thursday (Friday in Manila).

Lee and Ancer joined Ryan Armour, Bronson Burgoon, Zach Sucher and Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes in the lead after carding six-under-par 64s in benign conditions at the TPC River Highlands course in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Ancer forced his way into the leadership picture with a superb performance down the stretch, making five birdies on the back nine after reaching the turn at one under for the day.

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Armour, Burgoon, Sucher and Hughes meanwhile all ensured their places at the top of the leaderboard after draining birdies on their final holes.

golf Travelers20190622 - Lee, Ancer join leaders at Travelers Championship
Kyoung-Hoon Lee of Korea plays his shot from the ninth tee during the first round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on June 20, 2019 in Cromwell, Connecticut. AFP PHOTO

Of the leading pack, none was more pleased than Burgoon, who has endured a nightmare 2019 which has seen him miss the cut in 10 of his 14 starts.

The most recent of those came at Memorial, where he failed to make the weekend after reaching the halfway stage at three over.

“Right after Memorial I was in a pretty dark place when it came to my golf game,” said Burgoon.

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“I took two weeks off and regrouped and refocused and got a lot of really good work in,” added the 32-year-old Texan, who is still looking for his first PGA Tour title.

“It has been kind of a rough year for me. I struggled. I guess struggled would be an understatement.”

The leading pack were one shot clear of a group of six players who finished the day on five under.

They included England’s Paul Casey, and America’s Chez Reavie and Keegan Bradley.

For US-based world number 15 Casey, the grim, damp conditions were an unwelcome reminder of the climate he had left behind in his homeland.

“I don’t like the rain,” Casey said afterwards. “That’s why I live in Arizona. I can’t stand this, and I get it so often, ‘Oh, you’re from England. You must be used to this.’ It’s like, I’m not used to it; 22 years I’ve lived in the States. I’m not used to rain. I can’t stand it.”

Elsewhere Thursday, Phil Mickelson shrugged off his latest failed attempt to win the US Open at Pebble Beach with a three-under-par 67.

Bubba Watson, winner at the Travelers in 2010, 2015 and 2018, was five off the pace after posting a one-under-par 69.

Brooks Koepka, who finished runner-up at Pebble Beach, had a testing day with four bogeys and three birdies to card a one-over 71. It was only his third over-par score in his past 22 rounds at strokeplay events.

AFP

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