DUBLIN, Ohio – Paul Casey expected to be chasing someone Friday in the Memorial, figuring it would be Rory McIlroy.
After two holes, Casey had the lead to himself at Muirfield Village, and that was only the start of another big day. He took advantage of the par 5s for another 6-under-par 66, giving him a three-shot lead over Masters champion Bubba Watson (69) going into the weekend.
McIlroy, whose 63 was the lowest first round in the 39-year history of the tournament, was 15 shots worse with a 78, courtesy of three straight double bogeys and his fourth consecutive PGA Tour event with a nine-hole score of 40 or higher. McIlroy, who had a 43 on the back nine, went from a three-shot lead to nine shots behind.
“Even though I had such a bad day, I’m still in with a chance depending on what the guys do this afternoon,” McIlroy said. “So going into the weekend, not exactly where I want to be. But it could be worse.”
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Chris Kirk (70) was four shots behind. Top-ranked Adam Scott (70) was tied for 10th place at 5 under.
Ryan Moore (70) of Puyallup was tied for sixth place at 6 under. Kyle Stanley (68) of Gig Harbor was tied for 37th at 2 under. Michael Putnam (73) of University Place and former Washington Husky Richard H. Lee (68) were tied for 64th at even par.
Calcavecchia, Short share lead in Champions event
DES MOINES, Iowa – Mark Calcavecchia and Wes Short Jr. shot 6-under 66s to share the first-round lead in the Principal Charity Classic, an event on the 50-and-older Champions Tour.
Calcavecchia, third last year at the Wakonda Club, had three straight birdies on the back nine for his best start of the season.
Short birdied the 18th hole to join Calcavecchia atop the leaderboard.
Bobby Clampett, Peter Senior and Shane Lowery were a stroke back.
Jeff Coston (68) of Blaine was tied for sixth place.
Rick Fehr from Seattle and Kirk Triplett, a Pullman High School graduate, were tied for 14th at 69.
Johnson shoots a 62
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. – Jennifer Johnson matched the course record with a 9-under 62 to take the first-round lead in the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
The 22-year-old Johnson, the winner last year in Mobile, Ala., had 10 birdies — five straight on Nos. 9-13 — and a bogey on the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club.
Others to shoot 62 at Seaview were Laura Davies and Jimin Kang — a graduate of King’s High School in Shoreline — in 2005.
Haru Nomura had a bogey-free 63.