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HOUSTON: Brandt Snedeker shot a 5-under 65 in the afternoon to take a two-stroke lead at the Vivint Houston Open in the last event before the Masters. He’s one of 37 players in the field this week set to play at Augusta National.
Meanwhile, top-ranked Dustin Johnson returned from the coronavirus and shot 72, bogeying five of the last seven holes on his front nine, while Brooks Koepka also had a 72. He’s playing for the second time since a two-month layoff to heal injuries.
And yes, the fans were back, too. The tournament is limiting ticket sales to 2,000 a day. It’s the first domestic PGA TOUR event to have fans since THE PLAYERS Championship on March 12.
Lanto Griffin, the winner last year at Golf Club of Houston, also shot 72, while playing with Koepka. Jordan Spieth rounded out the morning threesome with a 72.
Jason Day was tied for second with Scottie Scheffler, Harold Varner III, Carlos Ortiz, Michael Thompson and Cameron Davis. They shot 3-under 67.
Phil Mickelson shot 76. He had two double bogeys and two bogeys.
The 39-year-old Snedeker won the last of his nine PGA TOUR titles in 2018. “I drove it great,” Snedeker said. “Around this golf course you have to be in the fairway, otherwise it’s going to be a long day for you. Did a great job of that. Made some putts. And the par 5s, birdied every par 5 out there.”
He also loved having the fans around. “I think that’s a big reason why I played well today,” Snedeker said. “I love having fans out here. I kind of feed off their energy. It’s great to hear some claps and people excited for good shots and some birdies.”
Johnson returned after a positive coronavirus test forced him to miss THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK and the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD.