English and Kuchar take early lead in Naples

Harris English and Matt Kuchar hold a single-shot lead after the first round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout.

The pair won the 2013 edition of the tournament and took charge early on in Florida with a 14-under 58 in the scramble format ahead of Billy Horschel and Hunter Mahan, who secured two eagles in the final six holes largely thanks to the former’s impressive approach play.

Graeme McDowell and Gary Woodland join them in joint second, with the 2010 U.S. Open winner continuing the return to form that saw him clinch the OHL Classic in November.


It was a disappointing first round for a pair of former winners in Kenny Perry and Steve Stricker as they carded 65.

Perry’s partner when he last won the title in 2012, Sean O’Hair, fared no better alongside partner Mike Weir, forming a trio of tied pairs at the bottom of the leaderboard.

Charles Howell III narrowly missed out on an eagle on the 18th, leaving him and Rory Sabbatini in eighth after a 10-under 62.

Howell III told the Golf Channel: “It was a struggle at the start. When you’re making pars in this format it is not good, but we got it going and Rory made some nice putts to get us going.”

Friday’s second round will take place in a modified alternate shot format, providing an opportunity for some extremely low scores.

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