J.B. tames TPC Blue Monster

J.B. Holmes blistered the revamped TPC Blue Monster at Trump National Doral with a bogey-free, 10-under-par 62 and grabbed a four-stroke lead over Ryan Moore after the first round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami.

Holmes, seeking his fourth PGA Tour victory, collected eight birdies and an eagle on the 12th hole, where he hit his approach from 226 yards to within 11 inches of the hole.

“We game-planned (the course) and I hit my spots,” said Holmes, whose score was the best by four shots on the new Blue Monster since it opened last year. “I stayed below the hole and it was a day when I made a lot of putts.

“I didn’t make that many bad swings, although I made two with the driver, but I birdied both those holes. It was a lot of fun, a great day. You don’t get them like that very often.”

Moore, who has won four times on the PGA Tour and last November captured the CIMB Classic in Malaysia for the second straight year, played flawlessly in his 66 until driving into the water on the 18th hole and making a double-bogey 6.

Rickie Fowler made only one bogey in a 68 and was tied for third with Dustin Johnson, who made a bogey after driving into the trees on No. 18, and Alexander Levy of France, who sank a 22-foot eagle putt on the eight hole and capped the day with a seven-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

Henrik Stenson of Sweden, playing on the PGA Tour for the first time this year, recorded six birdies in a 69 and was tied for sixth with Brooks Koepka, who made his only bogey on the sixth hole.

Adam Scott of Australia, playing for the first time this year on any tour after the birth of his first child, opened with a 70 and was tied for eighth with Jim Furyk, Gary Woodland, Charley Hoffman and Jamie Donaldson of Wales.

Defending champion Patrick Reed posted a 71 and was tied for 13th with Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker, Martin Kaymer of Germany, Ryan Palmer, Shane Lowry of Ireland, Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, Lee Westwood of England and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa.

Top-ranked Rory McIlroy was 4-over without a birdie through nine holes after starting at No. 10, but rallied for a 73 that included a 22-foot eagle putt on the eighth hole to tie for 27th, and Phil Mickelson tied for 39th after struggling to a 74 without a birdie all day.

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