Rai shares leads, as Theegala is fifth at Farmers Insurance; Rahm lags behind

San Diego, Jan 26 (IANS) Aaron Rai, who came to the PGA Tour through the Korn Ferry Tour in 2021, grabbed a share of the lead at the end of the first round in the Farmers Insurance Open.

He shares the lead with Sam Ryder and Brent Grant, as all of them shot 8-under 64 on the more-scoring North Course on Wednesday.

Another PGA Tour player, with an Indian connection, Sahith Theegala, shot 6-under, also at the North Course.

Rai, whose mother is of Kenyan-Indian descent, had a bogey free 64 with five birdies on the front nine and three on the back nine. Theegala had three birdies and a bogey on front nine of the course and then one birdie and one bogey and five birdies on back nine.

The man in form, Jon Rahm struggled to a 1-over 73 at Torrey Pines South, which has been one of his favourite courses. Rahm, ranked No. 3 in the world is trying for his third win in as many starts. He made a double bogey on the par-4 seventh hole. He earned his first PGA TOUR victory in 2017 at the municipal courses on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean and then won the U.S. Open on the South Course in 2021.

Ryder, Rai and Grant have never won on TOUR. Ryder is coming off three straight missed cuts. They took a one-shot lead over Brendan Steele, who was at 7-under 65, with seven players bunched another shot back at 6-under 66.

Defending champion Luke List and Collin Morikawa, ranked No. 8 in the world, were in a group of seven at 5-under 67.

The top six finishers and 13 of the top 18 played the North Course. Players will switch courses on Thursday and then play the final two rounds on the South Course.

PGA TOUR rookie Sam Stevens and Andrew Novak had the best rounds on the South Course. Both were in the group at 66.

–IANS

cs

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