Molder one ahead at Colonial, Spieth three back

Thu May 26, 2016 9:30pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Bryce Molder wielded a red-hot putter on near-perfect greens, finishing with a four-birdie flurry to take a one-shot lead in Thursday's opening round of the Colonial tournament in Fort Worth, Texas.

The 37-year-old American sank an 11-footer at the sixth, a 20-footer at the seventh, an 11-footer at the eighth and an 18-footer at the par-four ninth, his final hole, to shoot a flawless six-under 64 at Colonial Country Club.

India's Anirban Lahiri, and Americans Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson, opened with 65s while the ominous figure of world number two and local favorite Jordan Spieth lurked just three strokes off the pace after carding 67.

Spieth, who has played just two PGA Tour events since his final-round meltdown at last month's Masters, made a nice birdie-birdie start to excite the huge galleries watching his every move.

Though he bogeyed the par-three fourth after finding a bunker off the tee, he picked up two more shots over his closing holes to end the opening round in touch with the lead.

Molder, whose only PGA Tour victory came at the 2011 Open, parred his first nine holes in gloomy early morning conditions before catching fire on his back nine with a sparkling six-under 29.

"I hit a lot of greens early, to 20, 30 feet, and kind of rolled it up close and all of a sudden I hit a couple of bullets when I made the turn," Molder told PGA Tour Radio.

"On number one and two, I got some close birdies, and I have always loved these greens. I got some good looks late."

Molder was especially pleased with his birdie at the par-four seventh where his tee shot ended up in the right fairway bunker from where he struck a 146-yard approach to 20 feet.   Continued...

May 14, 2016; Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA; Bryce Molder hits his tee shot on the 6th hole during the third round of the 2016 Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports