Séamus Power makes impressive start to RBC Heritage

Solid first rounds for Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire in the Chevron Championship

Ireland’s Séamus Power shook off the disappointment of missing last week’s Masters with an impressive first round 65 at the RBC Heritage, a signature event on the PGA Tour.

The Irishman got off to a blistering start at Harbour Town with four birdies in his first five holes on a day his putter was hot.

Power holed from eight, 16 and 20 feet for birdies on the front 9 and after a stretch of pars, continued the birdie surge with another at the 10th from 19 feet up the hill. Another one dropped on the 13th for birdie, this time from 32 feet, before his only bogey of the day at the 17th when he failed to get up-and-down from the bunker. The Waterford man hit one more great approach to 18 and got the putt from 16 feet.

When he signed his card he was alone in second, two shots behind the clubhouse lead of JT Poston, who shot an eight-under-par 63.


Speaking about the round, Power said: “I got injured in the summer last year, wasn’t able to play the second half of the year, so the first part of this year has been a bit of a science experiment almost. You’re trying to get the equipment back dialled in. Your body seeing how it’s reacting.

“It’s getting there, I felt pretty good in Florida, I played well in Bay Hill, didn’t get the putter going. Played well in Tampa for three rounds, had a bad finish. So it’s been showing some signs, but obviously today it’s nice to get off to a great start round one. Things are coming together nicely eventually.”

Shane Lowry shot a one-under-par round of 70, damaged by a double bogey at the par 4 fourth hole when he hit the water with his tee shot, but finished his round strongly with birdies at 13, 16 and 18.

For Scottie Scheffler, there were no signs of a big Masters hangover as he stayed within view of the leaders. The world number one has not had a single round over par this year, and an early double bogey at the third hole threatened that, but the American responded in typical fashion with birdies at the seventh and 16th and 17th holes to shoot a two-under-par 69.

“I felt like I played a lot better than my score,” he said. “I tried to give myself a little bit of grace today, just because I was a bit tired. I shanked that bunker shot today on 3 and I was kind of like, ‘Okay, that’s a bit unusual. I think maybe mentally I might not quite be there.’

“But I put up a good fight, had a good finish. It was nice to put something up in red numbers today.”

Meanwhile, Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire have made solid starts to the Chevron Championship, the first major of the year in the women’s game.

Meadow shot a one-under-par 71, Maguire one shot more with a level-par 72 at The Woodlands, Texas, staying within touch of the early clubhouse leader and local favourite Lauren Coughlin, who posted a six-under 66 in round one.

Meadow had a notable day on the greens, taking only 25 putts, as she had three birdies to go with two bogeys in her 71. Maguire was left ruing a few big mistakes amid some good golf as her three birdies were cancelled out by a double bogey on the fourth hole and rescued bogey after hitting the water on 15.

Clubhouse leader Coughlin spent the last two weeks at Augusta watching the Women’s Amateur and the Masters, and came into the event inspired en route to six birdies and no bogeys. It was a case of changes paying off with a new putter, and her husband on the bag this week.

“He’s been begging me to give him an opportunity. I was like, okay, I’ll give you these three weeks,” Coughlin said about her husband caddying for her.

“When I say we, I mean me. Because I know he can do all of the things that I need him to do. It’s more just – we’ve never spent that much time together, so it’s just like can I do that, can I have the boundaries that we need to have to where we’re not just constantly about me golf all the time.”

David Gorman

David Gorman

David Gorman is a sports journalist with The Irish Times