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Scheffler makes impressive start in bid for victory hat-trick

Scottie Scheffler’s bid to become the first player to win three consecutive PGA Tour events for seven years started impressively with a bogey-free 65 during the opening round at the Texas Children’s Houston Open.

The in-form world No 1 has won on his last two appearances, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship, and is aiming to become the first player since Dustin Johnson in 2017 to win on three consecutive appearances on the tour in his final outing before The Masters, live from April 11-14 on Sky Sports.

Scheffler, who had shaved off his beard since his Sawgrass triumph, started on the 10th and missed his first three greens, but picked up shots at the 13th and 17th to reach the turn at two under.

A birdie on the par-three second was followed by two more in the next three holes as Scheffler finished at five under, one shot behind clubhouse leader Taylor Moore who set the pace among those out early.

“I had a solid round. Bogey-free is always nice, especially around a golf course like this,” Scheffler told reporters. “It is nice to be able to keep the card clean.”

It was the American’s 28th consecutive round under par to start the year, which the PGA Tour has confirmed is the most on record since 1983.

Image: Scheffler hits out of the bunker on the 18th green during his opening round

Scheffler had been struggling with a neck problem at Sawgrass, where a closing 64 saw him take the title by one stroke, but hopes he is now on the mend.

“(The) neck is feeling better, body feels good. The off week was good for me to get some rest, get some rehab,” he said.

“I took a couple more days off than I typically would last week, so it was some good recovery time.”

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Padraig Harrington hit an incredible shot while on his knees when his ball found a tree on the par-5 16th hole at the Texas Children’s Houston Open.

Moore, defending champion last week at the Valspar Championship, had started his round with a bogey, but soon built some momentum following an eagle on the par-five third to turn in 31. A couple more birdies saw him home at six under and into the clubhouse lead.

“After the first hole, just tried to see how many greens I could hit,” Moore said. “Got off to a little bit of a jump start there on 3, chipped in for eagle and birdied 4. Just got into the round.”

Davis Riley and Joe Highsmith also sat alongside Scheffler in a tie for second, while England’s Aaron Rai was among a group of players from the early starters at four under.

Watch the Texas Children’s Houston Open all live on Sky Sports. Early coverage of the second round begins on Friday from 12.30pm on Sky Sports Golf, ahead of full coverage from 8pm. The Masters is then exclusively live from April 11-14 exclusively on Sky Sports. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, majors and more with NOW.

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