Martin Laird, Stewart Cink share US PGA Tour Las Vegas lead

AFP| Updated: Oct 17, 2014, 10:04 AM IST
Martin Laird, Stewart Cink share US PGA Tour Las Vegas lead
Martin Laird hits off the 10th tee during the first round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open golf tournament Thursday.

Scotland`s Martin Laird got off to a hot start and held on to share the first-round lead with Stewart Cink on Thursday in the US PGA Tour`s Shriners Hospitals Open.

Laird and Cink both carded seven-under par 64s and were one stroke in front of Scotland`s Russell Knox.

It was a further stroke back to a group of six players on 66: Australian Jarrod Lyle, Japan`s Hideki Matsuyama and Americans Bo Van Pelt, Brian Stuard, Andrew Svoboda and Sam Saunders.

The second tournament of the US tour`s 2014-15 season sees Lyle in action for the second straight week -- his first starts since twice receiving treatment for leukemia.

He finished tied for 31st last week after qualifying for the season-opener, and is playing this week on a sponsor`s exemption.

Organizers didn`t quite squeeze in the entire first round at TPC Summerlin, where darkness halted play with three players still to finish.

Laird, who held the halfway lead in Napa, California, last week, birdied three of his first four holes.

He added back-to-back birdies at eight and nine, and capped a bogey-free round with birdies at 15 and 18.

Laird, who claimed his last US Tour title at the 2013 Texas Open, capped his round with a 40-foot birdie bomb at the final hole.

"It was nice to see that one go in," Laird said.

"I missed a bunch of opportunities on the back nine, putted great on the front and hit it actually better on the back than I did the front nine, just kept missing eight-, 10-footers."

Cink also played without a bogey, nabbing five of his seven birdies on the back nine.

"Well, 64 is good for anybody, I think, but on the first day of the year, you don`t really ever know what`s going to come out, the first day of the season," said Cink, whose last victory came at the 2009 British Open.

"I just kind of was patient and waited for a good stretch, and a good stretch happened."