The Associated PressHILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Bud Cauley took advantage of pristine, windless conditions at Harbour Town Golf Links with birdies on four of the final five holes for an 8-under 63 and a two-shot lead Thursday after the opening round of the RBC Heritage.
Cauley hadn’t made many waves at Harbour Town his first three visits with two missed cuts and only one round in the 60s. This time, though, with mild warm conditions, practically no wind and abundant sunshine, Cauley made eight birdies in a bogey-free round, including three straight to finish with a flourish.
“You never go out thinking you’re going to shoot that,” Cauley said. “I just got into the round and was swinging well and tried to give myself as many looks as I could.”
The 63 was one shy of the 27-year-old Cauley’s career low (62 at the McGladney Classic in 2012) and two off the tournament mark of 61 shared by David Frost and Troy Merritt.
Cauley was two in front of Luke Donald, Graham DeLaet and Sam Saunders, the grandson of the late Arnold Palmer. Russell Henley continued his recent run of top-flight golf with a 66 to join a group that included former U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson and Ian Poulter.
But it was Cauley’s strong finish that led the way. He rolled in a 5-footer for birdie on No. 16, an 8-footer for another on No. 17 and hit a near perfect approach to the usually windswept 18th green off Calibogue Sound to inside 12 feet for the two-stroke edge.
While the lack of wind certainly helped, Cauley said his shot selection and game plan coming in were essential in his success. “The last five holes I hit every shot just kind of how I was looking,” he said. “So that was a nice way to finish.”
Pair knotted atop Lotte C’ship
KAPOLEI, Hawaii (AP) — Ariya Jutanugarn and Kim In Kyung each birdied their final holes to share the lead during the suspended second round of the LPGA Lotte Championship.
Jutanugarn had a bogey-free 6-under 66, and Kim shot 64 to reach 9-under 135 at Ko Olina Golf Club. Jutanugarn won five times last season and was the LPGA Tour's player of the year.