McCarthy takes 1st-round lead at Byron Nelson

USA Today / Reuters

Denny McCarthy plays his shot from the 11th tee during the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament in Dallas on Thursday.

The Associated Press DALLAS (AP) — Denny McCarthy has some loose connections to Jordan Spieth and Tony Romo, the Trinity Forest members in the local spotlight. The former University of Virginia player is on top of the leaderboard after one round at the Byron Nelson.

McCarthy shot a career-low 8-under 63 on Thursday, with 10 birdies over a 12-hole stretch after an early double bogey to take a one-stroke lead over Tyler Duncan and Tom Hoge. Three-time major champion Brooks Koepka, the No. 3-ranked player in the world, was among nine players at 65.

“Gives me the confidence that I know that I can shoot rounds like this,” McCarthy said. “I’ve kind of been looking for a round like this just to kind of get me going. I know I can be out here playing with the best and today kind of showed that.”

McCarthy was part of the high school Class of 2011 that included three-time major champion Spieth and 2017 PGA Tour player of the year Justin Thomas. That impressive group also produced three consecutive PGA rookies of the year: Daniel Berger (2015), Emiliano Grillo (2016) and Xander Schauffele (2017).

All of those now mid-20-somethings have wins, except McCarthy, who is fully exempt on the PGA Tour this season for the first time after winning the Tour Championship last September.

His best PGA Tour finish in his first 42 tournaments was fourth last year in the Dominican Republic at an event opposite the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. McCarthy played his first two rounds at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club then with Romo, the CBS NFL analyst and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback who missed the cut there in his only two previous PGA Tour starts.

Romo, playing on a sponsor exemption as an amateur at home, had a 76 that included an opening birdie and a chip-in eagle from 66 feet at the 544-yard seventh hole. Those were his only subpar holes in a round with two double bogeys and four bogeys.Speech

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