Ian Poulter recorded seven birdies on the first day of play at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, S.C. File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo
June 18 (UPI) -- Ian Poulter and Mark Hubbard were tied atop the leaderboard after each shot a 64 in Thursday's opening round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C.
Poulter holed a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 17 and recorded another birdie on the final hole to cap his 7-under 64 in the first round. Hubbard, who had an eagle on hole No. 2 and five birdies, kept his score together with two par putts at the end.
Hubbard and Poulter held a one-shot lead over Sebastian Munoz, Viktor Hovland, Michael Thompson, Webb Simpson, Dylan Frittelli, Brice Garnett and Ryan Palmer, with that group finishing 6-under par for a share of third.
Jordan Spieth -- who started on the back nine -- got off to a rocky start Thursday, but the three-time major champion clawed out of a big hole with a remarkable stretch of birdies on the front nine.
Three holes into the tournament, Spieth carded a triple bogey after bouncing a shot off a tree. He remained two strokes over par through his first nine holes until bouncing back with seven birdies -- including six in a row -- on his second nine.
"All of a sudden, I'm three over through three, and you start to see guys going two under through two, two under through three early. It's not a great feeling," Spieth said.
Spieth's recovery put him at 5-under par and in a tie for 10th with Tony Finau, Mackenzie Hughes and Matthew NeSmith, among others.
Rory McIlroy -- playing at Harbour Town Golf Links for the first time since 2009 -- opened the tournament with a 72, ending his streak of seven consecutive events in which he broke par in the first round. Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Bryson DeChambeau were among those at 4-under 67.
Despite Tiger Woods being absent for the second consecutive PGA Tour event since it returned from a three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the field at RBC Heritage featured many of the top golfers in the world.
The top five players in the world are participating in this week's Tour event. The field also includes 114 players who have won on the PGA Tour, the most of any event since the tour began keeping track of field data in 2000.
The PGA Tour reported no positive coronavirus tests prior to the start of the RBC Heritage, which is taking place without fans in attendance. The Tour has administered 954 total tests over the last two weeks.
The RBC Heritage has a purse of $7.1 million, which includes $1.2 million for the winner.