Peter Hanson made his only birdie on the back nine with a six-foot putt at the 18th hole Thursday, closing out a five-under-par 65 for a one-stroke lead over David Duval and two others after the first round of the Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas.
Duval, ranked 890th in the world 15 years after being No. 1, birdied his last three holes, Nos. 7-9, after pitching in from 57 feet for another birdie at the fifth hole. Marc Leishman and Tim Wilkinson matched Duval at 66.
The 42-year-old Duval almost withdrew before the round because of a muscle issue in his right elbow that made it painful to hit balls and practice this week. About a half-hour before teeing off, he still wasn't sure that he was going to play because his arm was hurting again.
“I'm just glad I chose to tee off today, because I was seriously considering not,” Duval said.
Martin Kaymer, the Players Championship winner Sunday, was among eight players at 67.
Hanson made the turn at five under after shooting 30 on the front side. The Swede couldn't keep up the pace on the back nine at TPC Four Seasons that he hadn't played before Thursday because of travel issues and a sore back. All six of Hanson's birdie putts were inside 10 feet.
While Hanson, Duval and Wilkinson played afternoon rounds, Leishman was in one of the first groups out in the morning. He had a tap-in birdie putt at the par-3 second hole.
Leishman's only bogey, at the 431-yard fourth hole after missing the green, was sandwiched by a pair of birdies. The Australian hit 13 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation in a round he described as “fairly stress-free for the most part."
Jordan Spieth had to birdie two of his last three holes for an even-par 70 at the course where he made the cut as an amateur at ages 16 and 17.
Spieth, now 20 and the eighth-ranked player in the world, had a double-bogey 6 after driving into the water at No. 3, his 12th hole. With a large gallery following him only four days after he was in the final group with Kaymer at The Players, the Masters runner-up from Dallas hit only four of 14 fairways and 10 of 18 greens in regulation.
Spieth was playing in the same group with defending Nelson champ Sang-Moon Bae, the South Korean who had an opening 73. Bae had four birdies, two in his first three holes, along with five bogeys and a double bogey.
Azahara Munoz and Austin Ernst had strong finishes to share the first-round lead in the Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va., at six-under 65.
The former NCAA individual champions completed their morning rounds on the front nine at Kingsmill's River Course, with Munoz birdieing four of her last seven holes, and Ernst closing with birdies on No. 7 and 9.
Heavy rain was expected overnight and Friday morning, likely delaying second-round play.
Defending champion Cristie Kerr opened with a 67 after missing the pro-am Wednesday because of illness. She also won the Michelob Ultra at the course in 2005 and 2009.
Lexi Thompson, the Kraft Nabisco winner, also was in the group at 67 along with Lizette Salas, Brittany Lang, Kathleen Ekey, Danielle Kang and Thidapa Suwannnapura. Jessica Korda, Yani Tseng and Ai Miyazato topped the group at 68.
Jay Haas, Mark Calcavecchia, Olin Browne and Chien Soon Lu shared the first-round lead at three-under 69 in the Regions Tradition in Birmingham, Ala., the first of the 50-and-over tour's five majors.
With windy, unseasonably cool conditions at Shoal Creek, it was the highest score for first-round leaders at the Tradition since three players tied at three-under in 1990 at Desert Mountain Club in Arizona.
The course absorbed more than an inch of rain heading into Thursday and the players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls.
Defending champion David Frost had a 72, and Tom Lehman, the 2011 and 2012 winner, opened with a 73. Fred Couples shot 74.
England's Eddie Pepperell shot a four-under 68 to take a one-stroke lead over Spanish stars Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez and six others in the Spanish Open in Girona.
Garcia is coming off a third-place finish Sunday in The Players Championship on the PGA Tour. He won the 2002 tournament at El Cortijo and has five European Tour victories in Spain.
The 50-year-old Jimenez finished fourth in the Masters and won the Greater Gwinnett Championship the following week in his Champions Tour debut. He won the Hong Kong Open in December.
American Peter Uihlein also was in the group at 69 at PGA Catalunya Resort.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times