HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Rory Sabbatini shot a 7-under 64 for his lowest turn ever during Harbour Town Golf Links and a two-stroke lead Thursday in a RBC Heritage, with top-ranked Dustin Johnson 5 shots behind.
The speak heading adult to a contest was of a lapse of Johnson, a South Carolina local who grew adult about 3 hours northwest of here nonetheless had not played in a Palmetto State’s sole PGA Tour stop given 2009. But it was Sabbatini who fast changed to a tip in perfect, windless conditions on what’s typically one of a many wind-swept layouts of a year.
Matt Kuchar, Billy Horschel, Chesson Hadley and John Huh shot 66s. Johnson had a run of 4 true birdies in a center of his round, though finished adult with a 69. He was tied for 20th.
Sabbatini, starting on No. 10, birdied 4 holes on his front nine. He done a 52-foot putt on a par-3 14th and put his proceed on No. 18 — a Pete Dye course’s signature hole with a beacon in a backdrop — to about 7 feet to set adult another birdie.
“I consider anytime we can birdie 18 on this golf course, it’s pivotal given 18 is not a really forgiving hole,” he said.
Sabbatini, a final of whose 6 PGA Tour wins came in 2011, kept adult a clever play with 3 some-more birdies entrance in. He sealed a turn with uninterrupted birdies on his final dual holes, a eighth and a ninth.
“All things considered, a march is substantially as easy as I’ve ever seen it play,” Sabbatini said.
Sabbatini wasn’t certain he’d even tee it adult after spiteful his behind Sunday while operative on his stance. He perceived diagnosis each day given and motionless to go as prolonged as he good. Turns out it was all a approach to a end. Sabbatini even got a reward on his final tee box when he finally got his behind to cocktail after stretching on No. 9 to make himself feel better. “And it kind of releases all for a closure of a final hole,” he said.
Sabbatini surpassed his prior Harbour Town low of 66 in a 2009 final turn when he tied for eighth, his best display in 8 prior appearances.
Johnson, ranked No. 1 for some-more than a year, won during Kapalua and has 4 other tip 10s given Jan including final week during a Masters where he tied for 10th in a year’s initial major. He looked to continue his clever play during Harbour Town where he posted 10 birdies to one spook during Wednesday’s pro-am.
However, things did not come as simply for Johnson in his initial time here given 2009.
Johnson took spook on his second hole, a 11th. He held glow in mid-round, starting a run of 4 true birdies on a 18th hole. But Johnson missed 8-foot standard putts on a fifth and sixth holes and took one some-more spook on his shutting hole, a ninth.
“I haven’t played here in a while, so it’s really a small bit opposite being here,” Johnson said.
Kuchar, personification with Johnson, took advantage of a amiable conditions to get himself in early positon for his second tartan winner’s jacket.
Kuchar, ranked 21st in a world, stood during 1 underneath after his initial 11 holes before birding 4 of his final 7 — all on putts of 15 feet or reduction — to pierce into second.
Kuchar pronounced a pierce from Augusta National’s large greens to Harbour Town’s little greens was a large difference. “Once we get on these greens, we feel like we have a possibility to make putts,” he said. “To come from final week where removing on a immature doesn’t meant much, we still have a lot of work to go.”
Kuchar tied for 28th during a Masters final week.