Justin Lower leads by two strokes after opening round of the Fortinet Championship

By Sports Desk September 15, 2022

Justin Lower has kicked off the new PGA Tour season in style, shooting a nine-under 63 in the opening round of the Fortinet Championship to lead by two strokes.

Lower posted nine birdies and nine pars in his bogey-free round, bookending his day with birdies on the first and last holes.

Coming into his second year on the PGA Tour, Lower has two top-10 finishes to his name, making the cut in 16 of his 28 events this past campaign.

Alone in second place at seven under is Max Homa, who was part of the late starters able to finish their rounds right before play was halted due to darkness, with some competitors still not completing the 14th hole.

Tied for third place is J.J. Spaun along with two South Koreans, An Byeong-hun and Kim Seong-hyeon, with the trio shooting 66s.

There is a nine-man logjam at five under, which includes veteran Rickie Fowler as he tries to rediscover some form this season, as well as rising talent Sahith Theegala and Argentina's top player Emiliano Grillo.

Also at five under is Robby Shelton, who will resume play with six holes to play with a chance to climb the leaderboard even further before starting his second round.

One shot further back at four under is a group that includes Matt Kuchar and Canada's Adam Svensson, with major champions Hideki Matsuyama and Danny Willett at three under.

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    “It is the only way growth and prize funds continue at this level. It is inevitable.”

    Rory McIlroy said recently he fears golf will remain “fractured forever” unless the opportunity to create a more global game is embraced.

    The four-time major winner, initially an outspoken critic of LIV, has suggested a world tour incorporating “corporate America” and Saudi Arabian investment, but one which also elevates historic national Opens in the likes of Australia and South Africa.

    “I’m very much aligned with Rory,” added Pelley.

    “Rory is the player I have leant on the most, going back to the beginning. You need people who aren’t afraid to say what they really think.”

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    American Austin Eckroat is alongside them on 13-under-par at the PGA National in Florida – three clear of the chasing pack.

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    “I feel like I just know how to play the golf course. I feel like I’ve figured it out.”

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    Belgium’s Thomas Detry is in last position – 11 over par – after he six-putted the 461-yard par-four sixth hole from 57 feet, despite knocking his first effort to eight feet.

    The 31-year-old finished with a quadruple bogey and the most putts on one hole on the PGA Tour in four years.

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