Kuchar shoots 64 in season opener to grab lead at Phoenix

Photo of Kuchar shoots 64 in season opener to grab lead at Phoenix
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Matt Kuchar had a bogey-free 7-under-par round of 64 on Thursday, to lead Hideki Matsuyama and Brendan Steele by one shot at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Stat Kuchar
Score -7
Total 64
Eagles 1
Birdies 5
Pars 12
Bogeys 0
Fairways hit 12/14
Driving distance 295.5
Greens hit 16/18
Putts per GIR 1.625

Kuchar - who's beginning his season after taking some time off - opened his round with birdies at the opening two holes, then added three more on the back nine along with an eagle at the par-5 13th and credits his driver for the success.

"I drove it beautifully and you got to continue that out here," said Kuchar after the round. "This course demands good driving of the golf ball. I had a fantastic day driving the ball and hopefully three more to come."

(Video courtesy: pgatour.com)

The defending champion, Matsuyama opened his round with a birdie at the par-4 10th, then tallied five more and no bogeys to shoot a 6-under-par 65.

"I wish I knew why I play well here, but I did hit the ball very well today, hit a lot of greens, a lot of good shots," said Matsuyama with the help of an interpreter.

The 24-year-old was the hottest player at the end of the last year, but has started a little slow to begin 2017.

"I'm not hitting it and putting it as well as I did in Shanghai. But hopefully throughout the week here, I can get to that same level and compete for the win again."

Stat Matsuyama
Score -6
Total 65
Birdies 6
Pars 12
Bogeys 0
Fairways hit 10/14
Driving distance 300.1
Greens hit 17/18
Putts per GIR 1.765

Matsuyama has a remarkable record at TPC Scottsdale with a win, a second- and a fourth-place finish, and was shooting 42-under-par in 12 rounds prior to Thursday's score.

Steele got off to fast start on the front nine, making the turn in 30, before having an up-and-down back nine to record an equal amount of birdies, pars, and bogeys.

Notables:

Rickie Fowler (-4)

Phil Mickelson (-3)

Justin Thomas (-2)

Jordan Spieth (-1)

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