Fast start in Vegas for exciting prospect Rodgers

Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:30pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Patrick Rodgers, one of the most exciting prospects in the game, continued his impressive start to the 2015-16 PGA Tour by charging into contention at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas on Thursday.

The 23-year-old American, who tied for sixth place in the season-opening Open last week, took advantage of the customary low-scoring conditions in the Nevada desert as he fired a sparkling six-under-par 65 in the opening round.

With barely a breath of wind at the TPC Summerlin, Rodgers added six birdies and two bogeys to an eagle at the par-five ninth to finish one stroke off the early lead set by compatriots Mark Hubbard and Michael Thompson, and Canada's David Hearn.

Thirteen players were still out on the course when play was abandoned for the day in fading light. Of those, American journeyman Tyler Aldridge was the best placed at seven under with two holes remaining.

"It was nice to be the first off, the greens were perfect," Rodgers told reporters after teeing off in the first group of the day and storming to the turn in a sizzling five-under 30.

"I felt really comfortable and was able to roll in a few putts, especially there on that front nine. I definitely wasn't at my sharpest on the back but all in all a very good start."

Level with Rodgers at six under were nine other players including Japan's Ryo Ishikawa, South Korean D.H. Lee, Englishman Greg Owen and Americans Chad Campbell, Ricky Barnes, Ryan Palmer and Brendon Todd.

Sweden's Henrik Norlander was also at six under through 16 when play was abandoned.

Rodgers, whose best PGA Tour finish was a tie for second at this year's Wells Fargo Championship, felt he had also benefited from an eight-week break from competitive golf before starting the new season at the Open in Napa, California.   Continued...

May 16, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA;  Patrick Rodgers hits an approach shot during third round play at Quail Hollow Club. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports