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DeChambeau powers his way to top of the leaderboard in Las Vegas

Oct 8, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Bryson DeChambeau tees off on the 17th hole during the first round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open golf tournament at TPC Summerlin. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau fired the lowest opening round of his PGA Tour career to grab the lead after the first round at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas on Thursday.

DeChambeau, in his first start since his major breakthrough three weeks ago, birdied five consecutive holes over a sizzling stretch around the turn en route to a nine-under-par 62 at TPC Summerlin that left him with a one-stroke lead.

“It was a great day to play well,” said DeChambeau, who won the event in 2018. “There’s no wind out here for the most part and I feel like you can bomb it everywhere and get wedges close. And I was lucky to make a lot of putts.”

World number six DeChambeau started on the back nine and was two under before he kicked into high gear at the par-four 15th, the start of an impressive run where only one of his five consecutive birdie putts was from outside five feet.

A seven-times winner on the PGA Tour, DeChambeau finished strong with tap-in birdies at the par-four seventh and par-five ninth holes.

Nipping at his heels were fellow Americans Austin Cook, Harold Varner III, Scott Harrington, Patrick Cantlay and Nate Lashley, all tied for second in a tightly packed field after each carding an eight-under-par 63.

Among the big names who went out early were world number seven Webb Simpson (68) and PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa (69), the world number five and highest-ranked player in the field.

Defending champion Kevin Na finished the day four strokes back from the lead with a five-under par 66 and Sergio Garcia, fresh off his triumph last week in Mississippi, carded a four-under par 67.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto and Amy Tennery, Editing by Ed Osmond and Richard Pullin

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