Graeme McDowell two shots off first round lead in Texas

Irishman is looking for his first win on PGA Tour since 2015 at Valero Texas Open

Graeme McDowell lines up a putt during the first round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course. Photograph: Getty Images

Graeme McDowell lines up a putt during the first round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Graeme McDowell is two shots off the lead after the opening round of the Valero Texas Open.

The Irishman, who has not won on the PGA Tour since 2015, carded a four-under-par 68, consisting of seven birdies and three bogeys, to put himself in early contention in San Antonio.

McDowell is chasing South Africa’s Branden Grace, whose 66 sent him one-shot clear at the summit. Grace also fired seven birdies, with a solitary bogey.

American trio Will MacKenzie, John Huh and Stewart Cink and Australian Steven Alker are all on five under while McDowell is one of 13 players on four under.

Grace built on recent good form to earn the first-round lead: “Making the cut (at the Masters) was big for me and then I progressed nicely over the weekend,” he told Golf Channel.

“I’ve played well here in the past. It’s one of those courses you have to be precise, work out a plan attacking the greens, (because) there are some severe slopes.

“The wind blows (and) I like playing in the wind. I like hitting it a lot lower than the normal guys out there.”

Ireland’s Seamus Power shot a first round 72, recovering well from bogeys on the first and 10th holes and a double bogey on the seventh, to hit four birdies in his final seven holes.

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