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Saturday 3 December 2016

Spieth in groove as McDowall second

Jordan Spieth shook off the Masters hangover that hounded him during his opening round by firing a nine-under 62 yesterday to stand two shots off the pace early in the second round of the RBC Heritage in South Carolina.

The 21-year-old Texan had four birdies on his first nine after teeing off at 10, and another five after the turn in a flawless round at Hilton Head Island that put him six under par for the tournament, two behind playing partner Matt Kuchar.

Spieth, who tied the Masters scoring record by winning at Augusta with an 18-under-par total five days ago, had what he called an "off day" on Thursday when he shot a three-over 74 that left him a distant eight strokes off the lead.

It had been his first round of competitive golf since returning from a whirlwind victory tour of New York media outlets following his Augusta triumph.

Defending champion Kuchar shot a 66 for an eight-under total of 134, one stroke ahead of 2013 winner Graeme McDowell (69).

Joining Spieth in a group at six-under was South African Louis Oosthuizen (67) and Americans Morgan Hoffman (68) and Matt Every (70).

Meanwhile, Canadian Keith Pelley has been named as the new chief executive of the European Tour, succeeding George O'Grady. O'Grady announced in November that he would be stepping down from his role but would continue until a permanent successor was found.

Pelley, 51, will replace him from this summer, with O'Grady moving into the position of president of international relations.

Pelley said: "I am very honoured to be joining the European Tour as its new CEO at an exciting stage in its development. The tour already has a highly regarded reputation and I look forward to building on this using my previous experience in both media and sports.

"Throughout my career in North America, it has been a privilege to work with the best sports organisations, athletes, and media assets. I am excited to build on these experiences on the international stage."

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