Cantlay, Reed Share Hero Lead at 65

Patrick Cantlay is the lowest-ranked of the 14 golfers in the top 20 of the World Golf Rankings who are in the field at the Hero World Challenge, but in round one he played better than all the rest except Patrick Reed.

No. 20 Cantlay (pictured), from Los Alamitos and UCLA, carded a 7-under-par 65 match No. 15 Reed atop the leaderboard, one stroke better than third-ranked Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson of Sweden at Albany Resort in New Providence, Bahamas.

“I got off to a little bit of a slow start with a bunch of pars,” said Cantlay, who birdied five of the last six holes in his bogey-free round after getting into the tournament when Webb Simpson withdrew. “It was great to finish the way I did with birdies on five of the last six, and to make a birdie on the last to get to 7-under felt really good.

“This is the first time I’ve played here and I’m still learning the course and how the wind blows. But I like the golf course and I’m looking forward to playing the next three days.”

Said Reed after collecting four bogeys on each nine, making his lone bogey at No. 8: “Just trying to finish off the year right. When the wind is down like this, you can attack this place. The guys are going flag-hunting. When the wind is up, like Tuesday and Wednesday, it can be really challenging.”

Johnson had four birdies in a span of five holes through No. 15 en route to a 68 and in a tie for third with Stenson, who birdied three of the last five holes.

No. 17 Bubba Watson, who won the tournament in 2015, was close to the top after carding five birdies on the first 11 holes, but a double-bogey 5 after a drive into the water on the 17th hole left him at 69 in a tie for fifth with No. 18 Alex Noren of Sweden, who sank a long eagle putt on the 15th hole.

Second-ranked Justin Rose of England had a tap-in eagle at No. 11 in a 70 and is tied for seventh with fourth-ranked Justin Thomas and fifth-ranked Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis.

Eighth-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain stumbled with a double-bogey 6 on the last hole to finish at 71 and is tied for 10th with No. 11 Jason Day of Australia and Keegan Bradley, who finished double bogey-bogey.

Defending champion and ninth-ranked Rickie Fowler of Murrieta ranked birdied three of the last five holes for a 72 and is tied for 13th in the 18-man field, while tournament host Tiger Woods, who has won the tournament a record five times, is tied for 16th after a 73 that included a triple-bogey 6 on the 12th hole.

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