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Smith, Hughes and Lee among six sharing PGA Memorial lead

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Australian Cameron Smith, Canadian Mackenzie Hughes and South Korean Lee Kyoung-hoon were among a record six players sharing the lead after Thursday’s opening round of the US PGA Memorial tournament.

Americans Luke List, Davis Riley and Cameron Young were also among the co-leaders on five-under par 67 after 18 holes at the Jack Nicklaus-hosted event at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.

“This is about as easy as this place is going to get,” Smith said. “It’s going to be a lot of stressful golf and a lot of grinding over the weekend.”

Smith, a back-nine starter, opened with three birdies in his first six holes, highlighted by a 34-foot birdie putt at the 13th. Between a 28-foot birdie putt at the first and an 18-footer at the ninth, he sandwiched two birdies and two bogeys.

“A little bit of a grind,” Smith said. “It was just good to kind of hang in there, make a few birdies, see a few putts going in.”

Cameron Smith of Australia with his caddie. PHOTO: AFP

Lee holed out for eagle from 152 yards at the ninth, then began the back nine with back-to-back bogeys. He answered with consecutive birdies at the par-5 15th and par-3 16th then made clutch pars from 10 and five feet.

“I’m very happy,” Lee said. “I tried to just keep momentum well. Great first nine, especially making eagle.”

Hughes made nine birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey. He closed with three birdies in the last four holes, ending with a 20-footer at the ninth.

“I hit a few loose ones that I’d like to have back, but I did so many good things that it’s easier to forget about those,” Hughes said.

Young, a 10th tee starter, sank a 15-foot birdie putt at the par-3 12th, a 23-foot birdie putt at 13 and holed a 15-foot eagle putt at the par-5 15th. He also closed with a 27-foot birdie putt at the ninth.