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Hot start in desert lifts Cantlay to share of PGA Tour lead

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – World number four Patrick Cantlay roared out of the gate on the way to a 10-under-par 62 yesterday and a share of the first-round lead in the US PGA American Express alongside rookie Lee Hodges.

Cantlay, the reigning FedEx Cup champion, played the first seven holes at La Quinta in seven under par thanks to five birdies and an eagle at the par-five sixth.

The American cooled off coming home, making just three birdies the rest of the way to join Hodges atop the leaderboard.

The 26-year-old Hodges, making just his 14th appearance on the PGA Tour, had eight birdies and a brilliant eagle at the par-five fifth at La Quinta, the easiest of three courses in use – along with the Nicklaus Tournament Course and the Stadium Course – for the tournament in the California desert near Palm Springs.

After birdies at 11, 12 and 13 Cantlay was tied with Hodges, and he had a golden chance to overtake him when he spun his approach shot to within five feet at the 17th. But Cantlay couldn’t get the putt to drop, and he missed a longer birdie chance at 18.

“I got off to a roll at the start and kind of made a bunch of putts and then I kind of lagged on the way coming in,” said Cantlay, who was runner-up last year to South Korean Kim Si-woo.

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