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Monday 18 December 2017

Mathis hits hole-in-one en route to Travelers lead

DAVID MATHIS outshone a trio of Major champions to take a first-round lead after a scintillating start at the Travelers Championship.

Attention beforehand had focused on last week's US Open winner Webb Simpson and reigning Masters and USPGA champions Bubba Watson and Keegan Bradley, playing together in an eye-catching group.

All three scored well on day one at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, with Simpson and Watson shooting 66 and Bradley a two-under-par 68 to put themselves firmly in the hunt.

But none could match the efforts of Mathis, who missed the cut while Simpson was winning at San Francisco's Olympic Club. He hit the ground running in spectacular style yesterday.

Starting from the 10th, he followed an opening birdie with a hole in one at the 158-yard 11th before holing a 49-foot birdie putt at the next.

"It was an awesome start," he said, before delivering a modest assessment of his ace. "It kind of bounced and stumbled right and went right in the hole."

Further birdies followed at 14 and 15 to take him to six under, where he would finish his round after dropped shots at 18 and eight were cancelled out at the third and ninth.

Sweden's Fredrik Jacobsen could have led the way but for a double-bogey five at the 16th, the only blemish on a card containing seven birdies.

He instead shares second place with American Will Claxton.

Pádraig Harrington followed up his fourth place at the US Open with an opening 69.

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