Diaz sets early pace at John Deere Classic; Chun, Sharp share LPGA lead - GulfToday

Diaz sets early pace at John Deere Classic; Chun, Sharp share LPGA lead

Roberto-Diaz

Roberto Diaz plays a shot on the 18th tee during the first round of the John Deere Classic in Silvis on Thursday. Reuters

Silvis: Mexico’s Roberto Diaz birdied four of the first five holes on his way to a nine-under par 62 for a two-stroke lead after Thursday’s first round of the US PGA John Deere Classic in Silvis.

Diaz, ranked 430th in the world, was among the last players on the course at TPC Deere Run but completed a bogey-free round to overtake Americans Adam Long and Russell Henley, who shared second on 64.

The 32-year-old from Veracruz fired the low round of his PGA career, one stroke under his opening round at New Orleans in April.

Diaz seeks his first PGA title. His best finish in a tour event was a share of eighth three weeks ago at the Travelers Championship.

Diaz opened with back-to-back birdies after dropping his approaches inside six feet, then connected on 20-foot birdie putts at the fourth and fifth holes.

Diaz holed out for eagle from 100 yards at the par-5 10th, then sank 12-foot birdie putts at the 14th and par-3 16th holes to seize the solo led at eight-under.

Elsewhere, South Korean teen rookie Chun Youngin and Canada’s Alena Sharp each fired a seven-under par 64 to share the lead after Thursday’s opening round of the LPGA Marathon Classic.

Chun, a 19-year-old who has missed eight cuts in 11 starts this year, fired the low round of her LPGA career, a bogey-free effort to stun herself by topping the leaderboard at Highland Meadows in Sylvania, Ohio.

Sharing second on 65 were Germany’s Caroline Masson, Sweden’s Jenny Haglund, American Stacy Lewis and Spain’s Azahara Munoz.

Chun’s best LPGA result came in her 2017 debut when she shared 43rd at the New Zealand Women’s Open.

Chun had back-to-back birdies at the third and fourth holes and again at the par-5 seventh and par-3 eighth. She also ran off three birdies in a row starting at the 13th. Sharp birdied three of the first four holes but took her lone bogey at the par-3 second. She birdied the eighth as well as back-to-back back nine birdies at 11-12 and 15-16.

Agence France-Presse

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