Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair birdied seven of their first eight holes and were even hotter on the back nine while posting a 15-under 57 in the scramble format to take a one-stroke lead over Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele after one round of the QBE Shootout at Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Resort in Naples, Fla.
Stricker (pictured, left) and O’Hair added birdies at Nos. 10, 11, 13, 14 and 15, added an eagle on the 17th hole, and Stricker chipped in for a closing birdie.
“It’s a really good pairing,” said Stricker, who teamed with Jerry Kelly to win the 2009 Shootout title and tied for second with O’Hair last year. “He hits it so far down the fairway that it gives us the ability to go in there with some really short irons.
“At times, I stood on the tee and I’m like, ‘Why am I even hitting the tee shot because this guy’s going to be 40 yards ahead of me and hitting in two or three less clubs.’”
Added O’Hair, who claimed the title with Kenny Perry in 2012: “It was a great day. We had a lot of fun. Love watching this guy roll the ball, so much to learn for me. … Just really felt like it was a good pairing. We kind of ham-and-egged it pretty good today and it was fun.”
Bradley and Steele, who won the title in 2011, kicked-started their 58 with an eagle on the first hole, while Brandt Snedeker and Bubba Watson were third at 59, and Kevin Chappell and Kevin Kisner shot 61 to tie for fourth with Daniel Berger and Gary Woodland, and Jason Dufner and Billy Horschel.
Brian Harman and Pat Perez totaled 62 to tie for seventh with Shane Lowry of Ireland and Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, while Russell Henley and Kyle Stanley finished at 63 to tie for ninth with two-time champions Matt Kuchar and Harris English, and Tony Finau and Lexi Thompson, the only woman in the field.
Charley Hoffman and Zach Johnson are 12th and last in then field at 65.
The teams will play modified alternate shot Saturday and finish with better ball on Sunday.
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