RBC Heritage 2019: Shane Lowry Leads After Shooting 6-Under 65 in Round 1

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2019

Shane Lowry, of Ireland, hits a drive on the second hole during the first round for the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2019, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Shane Lowry owns a slim lead through 18 holes of the 2019 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Lowry carded a six-under 65 Thursday. Trey Mullinax, Daniel Berger, Luke List, Ryan Palmer and Ryan Moore are all tied for second at five under.

Lowry was in the second group to tee off and set the tone early. He opened with three birdies in his first six holes, and his consistency carried over to the back half of his round. He added three more birdies and was bogey-free.

According to PGATour.com, Lowry missed only one of the 14 fairways and reached 14 greens in regulation. His performance was a significant improvement compared to his last three PGA Tour events. He entered the RBC Heritage following missed cuts in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Players Championship and Masters.

Lowry is looking for the second PGA Tour win of his career, the first coming at the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Mullinax made a late charge to climb into second place. A bogey on No. 6 knocked him back to three under before he birdied the eighth and ninth holes.

Dustin Johnson has been on a tear this year, with six top-10 finishes and one win through his first nine events. Johnson put himself in position for potentially another top-10 result. He's in a tie for 15th but only three shots off of the lead at three under.

Matt Kuchar, the No. 1 golfer in the FedExCup standings, had a solid opening round. He closed out his day with a great par save after dropping his approach into the rough stuff around the green. Kuchar chipped out and onto the green with his third shot and then sunk a tricky 11-foot putt to stay at two under.

An inconsistent 2019 season for Jordan Spieth continued Thursday. He had one of the day's more impressive shots, narrowly missing out on an eagle on the par-four third hole.

Spieth is only tied for 53rd, though, after finishing at even par. Brandt Snedeker and Kevin Kisner are among those sitting with him at even par.

Like Johnson, Xander Schauffele earned a tie for second place at Augusta last week. He has some work to do to replicate that result, putting together a one-under round of 70 on Thursday.

Francesco Molinari led the Masters through three rounds and ended in a tie for fifth. He'll be lucky to make the cut at the RBC Heritage. At three over, he's in 111th. Molinari will need a strong second round to ensure he continues playing through the weekend.

Masters champion Tiger Woods opted against making the trip to Hilton Head, which makes sense so the 43-year-old doesn't get overworked physically.

Golfweek's Steve DiMeglio speculated Woods might return to competitive action at the Wells Fargo Championship, which tees off May 2. That would allow him a warmup event before heading to Farmingdale, New York, for the PGA Championship on May 19.

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