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Jordan Spieth reacts to missing a putt on the 13th green during the first round of the Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial on Thursday, May 24, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas. (Brad Loper/Fort Worth Star-Telegram via AP)

Long chip vaults Na into the lead

FORT WORTH, Texas — Kevin Na stood over his ball after taking a drop in the rough beside the ninth green following two wayward shots, on his final hole of the day and with a share of the lead in the Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial.

As Na looked toward the hole more than 90 feet away, he saw the huge ridge going through the middle of the green. He then noticed the caddie of one of his playing partners move a bag from behind the green.

"Because I can chip it over the right down the other side," Na said.

Instead, Na chipped in for an incredible birdie to wrap up an 8-under 62. That gave him a one-stroke lead over Charley Hoffman, who also had a bogey-free round Thursday. Jhonattan Vegas, Emiliano Grillo, Andrew Putnam and Beau Hossler all shot 64.

Na's tee shot at the 399-yard ninth hole went into the rough to the right, then his approach flew over the green and settled against a temporary grandstand. His relief was a drop into more rough, but after the chip landed on the green, the ball started to curl toward the cup.

"It got over the ridge and I was like, 'This is going to be good. It's going to be close.' Then it catches the right lip," Na said, describing it as a perfect chip.

This is the sixth time Na has had a first-round lead, his third at Colonial.

"This is a great golf course for me. Every year I come here I have high, high expectations," he said, before emphasizing a note that had been relayed by a PGA Tour media official. "Did you hear what he said? I've had the lead a few times. He never said I won, did he?"

Na's best finish at Hogan's Alley was a tie for seventh in 2007, and his only PGA Tour victory came seven years ago in Las Vegas.

After starting the day with six consecutive pars, Na went 6 under on a five-hole stretch that he called one of the best in his career. There were birdies at Nos. 16-18 before his approach at the 558-yard first hole rolled to 3 feet to set up an eagle putt. He made a nearly 50-footer at the second.

Sixty of the 121 players were under par, and another 16 shot 70. Jordan Spieth, the No. 3 player in the world, was at 1-under 69 and defending Colonial champion Kevin Kisner shot 72.

Hoffman had birdies on four of his first seven holes, then three of his last four.

"Not much wind ... and the greens were receptive," Hoffman said. "Really didn't have an opportunity to make bogey besides one missed green on 17 which I knocked up to about 4 feet and made that. It was nice, very stress-free round."

Vegas certainly felt much better after the first round at Colonial this year. He birdied four consecutive holes on his second nine after his only birdies in first nine were the par 3s, Nos. 13 and 16.

He had an opening 82 at Hogan's Alley when not feeling well last May, the highest score in his 576 career rounds on the PGA Tour. That came after shooting 76 in the first round two years ago at the course that he said always looks forward to playing.


At Benton Harbor, Mich., Nevada club professional Stuart Smith shot a 5-under 66 for a share of the first-round lead in the Senior PGA Championship.

Smith closed his morning round with a double bogey on the par-4 18th, and Scott McCarron, Tim Petrovic, Wes Short Jr., Barry Lane and Peter Lonard matched the 66 in the afternoon.

One of 41 club pros in the field at Harbor Shores for the senior major, Smith is the director of golf at Somersett Country Club in Reno.

McCarron won the Senior Players Championship last year for his first senior major.


At Ann Arbor, Mich., Moriya Jutanugarn, Caroline Masson, Danielle Kang and Amy Olson shot 6-under 66 to share the first-round lead in the LPGA Tour's Volvik Championship.

Jessica Korda, Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Lindy Duncan, Morgan Pressel, Megan Khang and Jodi Ewart Shadoff were a stroke back at 67 at Travis Pointe.

Ariya Jutanugarn, the Kingsmill Championship winner last week in Virginia, opened with a 69.

The Jutanugarn sisters and Korda are among six players with a chance to become the LPGA Tour's first two-time winner this year. Olson, Mason, Kang and Lee are hoping to extend the circuit's streak of having a new winner in each tournament this year.

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