Grace 3-under and 6 back after 68 in Harbour Town

Former champion Branden Grace made six birdies and three bogeys on Thursday on his way to a three-under-par 68 in the opening round of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

He won the tournament in 2016 for his first PGA Tour title, and he made three birdies in the first six holes before dropping his first shot on the par-three seventh. He picked that shot back up with a birdie on the ninth, and then made two bogeys and two birdies on his homeward nine.

He was six shots off the hot pace set by Australia’s Cameron Smith, who was bogey-free in his superb nine-under-par 62. That gave him a one-stroke lead over the veteran Stewart Cink, who, in turn, was two shots clear of Matt Wallace and Collin Morikawa.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout carded a one-under 70 in his opening round, making three birdies and two bogeys in his round. Dylan Frittelli was on level-par, and South African-turned-Slovak Rory Sabbatini joined Bezuidenhout on one-under.

It was a career-best score for Smith on the PGA Tour after he made birdies on the difficult 17th and 18th at Harbour Town. The Australian chipped in for birdie on the par-three 17th, then stuck his approach to the lighthouse finishing hole within five feet to take the lead.

This was after Cink finished his 63 around lunchtime and no one appeared likely to beat that score in overcast, breezier afternoon conditions.

In the Korn Ferry Tour’s MGM Resorts Championship in Las Vegas, Dawie van der Walt and Tyrone van Aswegen each carded opening two-under-par 70 to be in a share of 18th place after the first round. They were four shots adrift of leader Kevin Dougherty.

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