Kiwi golfer Steve Alker makes superb start to Texas Open on PGA Tour
Kiwi golfer Steve Alker has birdied the last three holes to make a superb start to the latest event on the PGA Tour.
Alker fired a five-under par 67 to be in a four-way tie for second after the first round at the Texas Open in San Antonio on Thursday (Friday NZ time).
The Hamilton veteran was just one shot back of tournament leader Branden Grace of South Africa, who shot a six-under 66 to claim the early advantage, while American trio Will MacKenzie, John Huh and Stewart Cink were also at five-under.
Alker made six birdies total during a slick display at the TPC San Antonio course, a lone bogey at the par five second the only blemish on an otherwise impressive scorecard.
The two other Kiwi players in the field, Tim Wilkinson and Danny Lee, had contrasting days.
Wilkinson got underway in positive fashion by carding a three-under 69 to be tied 19th, while Lee could only manage a one-over round of 73 to be down in a tie for 94th.
Although he cold only manage six at the par five second hole, Alker immediately responded with a sing of things to come by getting the shot back with a birdie at the par three third.
Further birdies at the next par three, the seventh, and the par five eighth meant he made the turn in three-under 3 to be four shots off the lead.
Alker looked to be coming in in solid but unspectacular fashion with five straight pars from hole 10 to 15.
But that quickly changed as the 45-year-old made a brilliant finish, dropping birdies at the par three 16th, par four 17th and par five 18th to sign for his five-under round.
Wilkinson's day could have been better had it not been for three bogeys, the first of which came on the opening hole.
The 38-year-old soon bounced back with birdies at three and five, before a bogey at seven and birdie at eight saw him make the turn in one-under 35.
He picked up further shots at the 12th, 13th and 16th holes coming in, his third and final bogey of the day at 15.
It was a less memorable day for Lee, the Kiwi No 1 making two birdies and two bogeys to turn in even-par 36 before making seven consecutive pars and finishing with a disappointing six on the par five last.