Séamus Power vowed to “leave the putter alone” after racking up 170-foot putts in a superb six-under-66 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas.
Returning to TPC Craig Ranch, where his tied ninth place 12 months ago marked the start of sensational form, the West Waterford star hit six putts outside of 10 feet, including two outside of 20 feet on the last two greens.
He finished fifth, six shots behind Colombian Sebastián Muñoz, who made two eagles, nine birdies and a bogey in a 12-under-60 tournament, becoming the first player in PGA Tour history to hit two rounds in a single season of 60 carded.
“When that last came in, I said to myself, that’s a lot of footage,” joked Power, who made seven birdies and recovered from his lone bogey on the 16th by pounding in a 25-foot followed by on the 17th a 20 foot end. “I putted really well here last year. I love these greens. The surfaces are perfect and it’s the kind of greens I seem to read pretty well.
“It wasn’t anything special from the tee to the green but I felt really good on the greens. I didn’t play well last week either, but I felt like I putted well. Once I get to curved greens I feel like it really suits me.”
Poor drives prevented him from birdieing two of the par 5s, but he planned to iron out those problems on the range.
“I just didn’t hit my best shot to the green but I hit some good shots in a couple of key spots which is nice and gave me some chances,” he said. “I still have some work to do on the range, but I’ll probably leave the putter alone.”
Kinsale’s John Murphy shagged the first but struggled after that, dropping five shots to open with a four-over-76, leaving him at the bottom of the field.
On the DP World Tour, Niall Kearney’s two-under-69 tied for 26th place, four shots behind England trio Dale Whitnell, Sam Horsfield and Callum Shinkwin at the Soudal Open at the Rinkven International in Antwerp.
“I left a few shots on the greens,” Kearney said as Jonny Caldwell shot 70 to share 45th place and Cormac Sharvin shot a 73 for 99th place.
In amateur golf, Scotland’s Matthew Wilson made five birdies in a three-under 69 to lead the Flogas Irish Amateur Open by a shot of seven Irishmen at The Island.
West of Ireland Champion Alan Fahy of Bray, Liam Nolan of Galway and Robert Moran of Castle shared second place with Gerard Dunne of Co Louth, Jack Madden of Royal Portrush, Ryan Griffin of Ballybofey and Stranorlar and Seán McLoughlin of Co Sligo the 70s with defending champion Peter O’Keeffe in 26th place after 74th.
Soudal Open, live, Sky Sports, 12pm
Byron Nelson, live, Sky Sports, 6.30pm