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2017 Valero Texas Open: Branden Grace grabs early one-shot lead in first round

By
Steve Habel, The Sports Xchange
Branden Grace tees off on the first hole of final round of the U.S. Open golf championship at Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh, on June 19, 2016. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Branden Grace tees off on the first hole of final round of the U.S. Open golf championship at Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh, on June 19, 2016. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

SAN ANTONIO -- Branden Grace of South Africa fashioned seven birdies in his first 14 holes and settled for a 6-under-par 66 to establish a one-shot lead on Thursday after the morning wave of the first round of the Valero Texas Open.

Will MacKenzie and John Huh were a shot back after 67s in the morning wave played under mostly benign conditions at the TPC San Antonio Oaks Course.

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Ten players -- most notably Brooks Koepka and former U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland -- finished their first rounds with 68s, two off Grace's pace.

Grace has won 11 times as a professional, including the 2016 RBC Heritage as his only PGA Tour victory. He was 3-under on the front-nine after four birdies and a bogey and racked up three more birdies to sign for a round that included hitting 13 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens in regulation.

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