Danny Willett one shot off early lead at CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 19/10/18 7:39pm
Danny Willett fired a three-under 69 to get within a shot of the lead after the opening round of the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges in South Korea.
The former Masters champion, without a PGA Tour top-10 finish since his Augusta win in 2016, mixed five birdies with two bogeys on Jeju Island to stay in touch with early leader Chez Reavie.
Willett shares second spot with home-favourite Byeong Hun An, while Ian Poulter is one of seven players in tied-fourth after finishing his opening-round 70 with back-to-back birdies.
Only 20 of the 78-man field posted scores under par in tough conditions at the no-cut event, with defending champion Justin Thomas five off the lead after a one-over 73.
Willett, one of the morning starters, set the initial clubhouse target, only for Reavie to move ahead after following a first-nine 35 with birdies at the first, third and eighth.
Reavie missed a 12-foot birdie at the par-five ninth - his final hole - to extend his advantage, while An also briefly topped the leaderboard until he bogeyed two of his final six holes.
Graeme McDowell recovered from a late double-bogey to post a one-under 71, with Paul Casey also three off the pace despite birdieing three of his opening five holes.
Three-time major champion Brooks Koepka and Hideki Matsuyama in the share of 11th, while Tyrrell Hatton produced a birdie-eagle finish to end on level par.
Watch the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Friday from 3am on Sky Sports Golf and 3.30am on Sky Sports Main Event.