Lucas Herbert uses birdie spree to take lead at Fortinet

July 20, 2023; Hoylake, ENGLAND, GBR; Lucas Herbert plays his shot from the fourth tee during the first round of The Open Championship golf tournament at Royal Liverpool. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Lucas Herbert ripped off six birdies in a row to turn in a 9-under 63 and establish a two-shot lead after one round of the Fortinet Championship on Thursday in Napa, Calif.

The Australian played the back nine of Silverado Resort’s North Course in 7-under 30 to set the pace. S.H. Kim of South Korea (7-under 65) had an eagle, five birdies and no bogeys to grab second place.

Former major champion Jason Dufner was part of a tie for third at 6-under 66 as the final players finished their rounds.

The Fortinet Championship is the first of seven events in the newly designed “FedEx Cup Fall” series. Players need to finish the fall in the top 125 of the points standings to retain full eligibility for the 2024 season. The top 50 players from this summer’s FedEx Cup playoffs are already locked in.

Justin Thomas opened the tournament with a 3-under 69. Thomas is not only tuning up for the Ryder Cup later this month near Rome, but he also is vying for FedEx Cup Fall points.

He is not at risk of losing his tour card, as he is exempt through 2027 after winning the 2022 PGA Championship, but he needs to finish the fall series in the top 60 in points in order to qualify for two winter signature events: the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Genesis Invitational.

Just behind Thomas was Max Homa, the two-time defending champion and the only other player in the field who will go on to play in the Ryder Cup. Homa overcame an early double bogey to post a 2-under 70.

–Field Level Media

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