Luck, Herbert lead as Spieth's putter stutters in Sydney

Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:33am EST
 
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Local amateur prospect Curtis Luck and compatriot Lucas Herbert shot five-under-par 67s for a share of the lead as Jordan Spieth struggled with his putting in the opening round of the Australian Open on Thursday.

Luck, the U.S. and Asia-Pacific Amateur champion, mixed seven birdies with two bogeys to upstage playing partners Spieth (69) and former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy (70) after their early morning tee-off at a sunny Royal Sydney.

World number five Spieth, winner of the Stonehaven Cup two years ago, managed just one birdie on his front nine but three more after the turn kept him well in contention despite a bogey after driving through the green on his penultimate hole.

A share of eighth, two shots off the pace, was a satisfactory return for the American as he re-tuned his putter after a six-week break.

"I made a couple of putts from outside of five or six feet but that was it," the 23-year-old twice major champion told reporters.

"But they'll start falling and once a couple do and I start finding that confidence, the hole looks a bit bigger, that's when we can really open the floodgates.

"I certainly believe in my ability the rest of this week. I didn't find the hole to be very big today."

Adam Scott missed out on a chance of a second Australian Open title when Rory McIlroy pipped him on the final hole the last time the tournament was played at Royal Sydney in 2013.   Continued...

 
Oct 2, 2016; Chaska, MN, USA;  Jordan Spieth of the United States plays his shot from the third tee during the single matches in 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports  / Reuters
Picture Supplied by Action Images