Si Woo Kim played like it was 2017.
The 23-year-old Kim, who has won twice on the PGA Tour including The Players Championship two years ago, shot 6-under-par 66 to take a one-stroke lead over four players after the first round of the 89th Valero Texas Open on the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio https://tpc.com/sanantonio.
“(My) back nine (I played) much better, that’s why I get closer to the pin,” said Kim, who made five birdies in a span of six holes through No. 7 while finishing on the front nine. “If I’m reading (the greens) good, I can putt it well.”
The longest of Kim’s birdie putts was a 19-footer at No. 3.
Abraham Ancer of Mexico had five birdies on the back nine to post a 67 and is tied for second with Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela, who had four straight birdies through No. 14, Brian Stuard and J.T. Poston.
Eighth-ranked Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, fresh from two weeks off after The Players, carded a 68 and is tied for sixth with Jordan Spieth, Ryan Moore, Morgan Hoffman, Danny Lee of New Zealand, Chris Stroud, Ted Potter Jr., Scott Stallings, Max Homa of Valencia and Cal, Hank Lebioda and Roberto Diaz of Mexico.
Matt Kuchar, who lost to Kevin Kisner in the final of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play on Sunday, totaled 69 and is in a huge tie for 17th with Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia, J.B. Holmes, Seamus Power of Ireland, Ryan Armour, Shawn Stefani, Cameron Tringale of Mission Viejo, Wyndham Clark, Nick Taylor of Canada, Matt Jones of Australia, Corey Conners of Canada, Byeong Hun An of South Korea, Beau Hossler of Rancho Santa Margarita, Josh Teater, Kyoung-Hyun Lee of South Korea and Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who won the Corales Puntacana Championship last week.
Defending champion Andrew Landry is tied for 52nd after a 71.
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