Scott (67) three back at Australian PGA Championship

Lucas Herbert and Brett Rankin shared the first-round lead at the Australian PGA Championship after carding 5-under 67s on Thursday at Royal Pines.

The Australian pair were one clear of a group of five players including New Zealander Ryan Chisnall, while Adam Scott and Stewart Cink were three back after opening 70s. Two-time defending champion Cameron Smith was 2 over.

Herbert went birdie-birdie-eagle in still morning conditions to begin his round before a run of three bogeys. He added four birdies on the back nine to finish before the breeze picked up.

Scott and 2009 British Open winner Cink were among the later starters and had to deal with trickier conditions.

Scott, the 2013 Australian PGA champion, made long-range putts for eagle and birdie to stay in touch despite a double bogey on the par-4 13th hole, when he hit into the water off the tee.

”I’m putting good. I’m playing good. Unfortunately I really miss-hit that drive off 13 and it cost me,” said Scott, who is chasing his first title since 2016. ”Other than that, it was pretty much stress free. I was very happy with it because it wasn’t very easy out there.

Smith, aiming to be the first player in more than 100 years to win three straight Australian PGA titles, said he lacked energy after an emotional Presidents Cup last week in Melbourne, where he and Scott were part of the International team that gave up an early lead before losing to Tiger Woods’ U.S. team.

He was even at the turn but had two bogeys and a double-bogey in a three-hole sequence.

”I’m just tire. Just a long couple weeks. It was as easy as it’s going to get out there this morning, so it was pretty disappointing to shoot what I shot,” he said.

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Shriners Open featured groups: Koepka with Woodland, Scott

LAS VEGAS – The PGA Tour returns to Las Vegas for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, where Bryson DeChambeau will look to defend his title against the strongest field of the fall slate. Here are marquee groupings for this week at TPC Summerlin.

7:10 a.m. Thursday, 12 p.m. Friday: Kevin Na, Phil Mickelson, Tony Finau

The Las Vegas stop was a fixture on Mickelson’s schedule in the 1990s and early 2000s, but he’s been away for 14 years. He’ll make his first start since 2005 as he looks to bounce back from a missed cut in Napa and make a late case for a Presidents Cup pick. Finau is making his sixth straight start in the desert and is likewise looking to impress captain Tiger Woods in his season debut. Na won this event in 2011 and lost in a seven-way playoff in 2015 but has otherwise missed the cut or withdrawn in four of his last five trips to Summerlin. 

7:20 a.m. Thursday, 12:10 p.m. Friday: Brooks Koepka, Gary Woodland, Adam Scott

World No. 1 Koepka is making his season debut and returns to the Shriners after two years away. From 2013-2016, he recorded a runner-up, a tie for fourth and two missed cuts. The reigning U.S. Open champ Woodland was T-18 and T-10 in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and rounded out last year’s event with a final-round 63. Scott spent his brief college career at nearby UNLV and is playing this event for the first time.

12 p.m. Thursday, 7:10 a.m. Friday: Joaquin Niemann, Matthew Wolff, Collin Morikawa

A trio of newly minted PGA Tour winners all aged 22 or younger. Wolff took last season’s 3M Open, Morikawa the Barracuda, and Niemann this season’s Sanderson Farms. All three players managed to wrap up full-time status on Tour in limited starts as non-members, with Niemann doing so via points in 2017-18. Wolff is making his season debut, which Morikawa got out of the way last week with a top-10 in Napa. 

12:10 p.m. Thursday, 7:20 a.m. Friday: Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Webb Simpson

A collection of three past champions and the last two winners here at Summerlin. DeChambeau edged Cantlay last year thanks in large part to a late eagle at the par-5 16th. He was the only player keeping Cantlay from a successful defense of his maiden PGA Tour victory, which he earned in a wind-swept playoff with Alex Cejka and Whee Kim back in 2017. Simpson rolled to a six-shot victory and a 24-under total back in 2013.

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