Matsuyama and Van Pelt tied
Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama and Bo Van Pelt found themselves in front by two strokes after the first round of The Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio.
Reigning Masters champion Jordan Spieth finished tied 12th after a solid first-round 68, but former world number one Tiger Woods struggled on his comeback as he stumbled numerous times on the front nine before recovering on the back nine.
Matsuyama began his bogey-free first-round 64 with consecutive birdies on the second and third before making a hat-trick of pars.
He broke that streak with a birdie on the seventh and finished his front nine on a high as he recorded his fourth birdie of the round on the ninth.
Matsuyama’s red-hot form continued into the back nine as he made four successive birdies from the 11th to 14th hole. His birdie on the 13th was the highlight of his round though as he sunk a 17-foot putt.
Van Pelt started his round with one birdie in his first four holes before putting on a show by making five birdies in a row from the fifth to the ninth, which came courtesy of an 18-foot putt.
His impressive run was halted when his 23-foot putt on the 10th ended up being 21 inches short of the hole, which led to him registering his first bogey of the round.
However, Van Pelt regained his composure and sunk four more birdies on his next five holes before finishing with his second bogey on the 17th.
Sitting two shots behind Matsuyama and Van Pelt are Jason Dufner and Scotland’s Russell Knox, both of whom hit first-round 66s.
Woods meanwhile found himself tied 85th on the leaderboard after hitting a first-round 73.
The 39-year-old faltered significantly on the front nine as his putting let him down on the 10th, 11th and 13th, causing him to card bogeys on all three holes.
Woods bounced back with birdies on the 14th and 16th, but ended his front nine on a low as he made his fourth bogey of the round on the 17th and finished with a double bogey on the par-four 18th after his second shot went out of bounds.
However, the former world number one began to rally back on the back nine as he sunk a 20-foot putt to register a birdie on the second before going on to make consecutive birdies on the sixth and seventh.
While Woods endured a dismal first round, the same could not be said about reigning Masters champion Jordan Spieth, who remains four strokes behind Matsuyama and Van Pelt after hitting a 68.
Spieth got underway with a birdie on the first before making two more on the fifth and sixth. However, he let himself down on the seventh as his 17-foot putt went wide of the hole, which resulted in him carding his lone bogey of the round.
The 21-year-old had a fairly quiet back nine as his only success came in the form of consecutive birdies on the 14th and 15th.
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