Danny Lee in strong start at St Jude Classic

Last updated 12:10 08/06/2012

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New Zealand golfer Danny Lee has made a tidy start to the St Jude Classic on the PGA Tour.

Despite dropping two shots on his back nine, Lee finished the opening round in a share of 18th after carding a one-under 69 in tough conditions for scoring at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Kiwi No 1 was in a share of third and one shot off the pace when he birdied the par-four second, his 11th of the day, to get to three-under, but he cooled down with bogeys at the par-five third and par-four sixth to finish at one-under.

He had four birdies and three bogeys in the round, which has the 21-year-old just three shots off the lead being jointly held by Americans Jeff Maggert and John Merrick, who carded four-under 66s.

Merrick bogeyed the 18th hole to fall into a tie with 2006 tournament winner Maggert for the lead.

Tied for third at 67 were Americans Jeff Overton and J.J. Henry, along with India's Arjun Atwal and Noh Seung-yul of South Korea.

US Open champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, trying to make the cut for the first time in four tournaments, was among 11 players bunched at 68.

Others posting two-under-par rounds included U.S. Davis Cup captain Davis Love III and his fellow former major winners Lee Janzen, Padraig Harrington and Yang Yong-eun.

John Daly, a former resident at the Southwind course and another former major winner, also posted a 68 but stood out from the crowd with a bright orange shirt and wildly patterned brown pants.

- Stuff and Reuters

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