Branden Grace shows prowess in wind, shoots 66 and leads by one

April 20, 2017
Valero Texas Open - Round One

Steve Dykes

South African Branden Grace, a winner of one PGA Tour event, opened the Valero Texas Open Thursday with a six-under-par 66 to take the first-round lead in San Antonio, Texas.

Grace, at 21st the third highest ranked player in the field, had seven birdies and only a single bogey on the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio.

“I enjoy coming back here,” Grace said. “I think it’s my third or fourth visit and I’ve played well here in the past. It’s one of those courses I like playing. The wind blows. I like playing in the wind. I like hitting it a lot lower than the normal guys out there.”

Stewart Cink, a likely sentimental favorite wherever he plays given his wife Lisa’s breast-cancer battle, shot a five-under 67 and is tied for second, along with Will MacKenzie and John Huh. MacKenzie tied for second in the Valero Texas Open in 2014.

Defending champion Charley Hoffman shot a one-under 71 and is tied for 52nd.

Australian Curtis Luck, meanwhile, shot a one-over 73 in his professional debut. Luck, 20, is the reigning U.S. Amateur champion who was No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking prior to turning professional.