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Streb scores 61 in CJ Cup opener

BEST START Robert Streb tees off on the 10th hole during first round of the CJ Cup golf tournament, Thursday (Friday in Manila) in Las Vegas. AP PHOTO


Robert Streb went from making putts to wondering if he would ever miss Thursday (Friday in Manila) in the CJ Cup at Summit. It led to his best start to any tournament and his lowest score on the PGA Tour.

And on this day at The Summit Club, his 11-under 61 was only good for a one-shot lead.

A world-class field lit up a very pretty and mostly defenseless golf course overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. The result was the lowest average score — 68.95 — for the opening round on the PGA Tour all year.

Streb had 10 birdies and an eagle and led by one shot over Keith Mitchell, who had more birdies than pars in matching his low round with a 62. Harry Higgs was at 64, while the group at 65 included Sergio Garcia and Viktor Hovland.

Such scoring in ideal conditions was what players were expecting on this Tom Fazio desert course, and Streb wasted little time proving it.

He started with a pair of 6-foot birdie putts and followed with a 12-footer for eagle. When he walked off the par-5 sixth hole after a long two-putt for birdie, he already was 7-under par.

Streb broke by two shots his previous low score on the PGA Tour, one of those 63s in the PGA Championship at rain-soaked Baltusrol in 2016.

But while low scores were plentiful — 25 players at 67 or lower — so was trouble if anything left the emerald green fairways.

Consider how it must have felt for Justin Rose. Two holes into the tournament, he already was 10 shots behind.

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