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top game Séamus Power finds putting magic to open with sensational six-under in Dallas

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Séamus Power plays his shot from the fifth tee during the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Séamus Power plays his shot from the fifth tee during the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Séamus Power plays his shot from the fifth tee during the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Séamus Power vowed to “leave the putter alone” after rattling in 170 feet of putts in a superb six-under 66 in the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas.

Returning to TPC Craig Ranch, where his tied ninth finish 12 months ago signalled the start of a sensational run of form, the West Waterford star knocked in six putts outside 10 feet, including two outside 20 feet on the last two greens.

He was tied fifth, six strokes behind Colombia’s Sebastián Muñoz, who made two eagles, nine birdies and a bogey in a 12-under 60 to become the first player in PGA Tour history to card two rounds of 60 in a season.

“When that went in at the last, I said to myself, that’s a lot of footage,” joked Power, who made seven birdies and recovered from his lone bogey at the 16th by brushing in a 25-footer at the 17th followed by a 20-footer at the last. “I putted very nicely here last year. I love these greens. The surfaces are perfect and they’re the type of greens I seem to read pretty well.

“It was nothing too special tee to green, but I really felt good on the greens. Even last week, I didn’t play well, but I felt like I putted well. Once I get to bent greens, I feel like it really suits me.”

Poor drives prevented him from making birdie at two of the par-fives, but he planned to iron out those problems on the range.

“I just didn’t quite play my best tee to green, but I hit a couple of good tee-shots in a couple of the important spots, which is nice and gave myself some chances,” he said. “I have some work to do on the range, but I will probably leave the putter alone.”

Kinsale’s John Murphy birdied the first but struggled after that, dropping five shots to open with a four-over 76 that left him near the back of the field.

On the DP World Tour, Niall Kearney’s two-under 69 left him tied 26th, four shots behind English trio Dale Whitnell, Sam Horsfield and Callum Shinkwin in the Soudal Open at Rinkven International in Antwerp.

“I left a few shots out there on the greens,” Kearney said as Jonny Caldwell shot 70 to share 45th and Cormac Sharvin a 73 for 99th.

Meanwhile, Pádraig Harrington failed to build on a fast start in the opening senior major of the season, the Regions Tradition in Alabama. The Dubliner was three-under after fives holes at Greystone but double bogeyed the par-four 16th before picking up shots at the 18th and sixth to open with a three-under 69.

Harrington was tied 12th, four shots behind Steve Stricker whose 65 gave him a two-shot lead over Miguel Angel Jiménez and Wes Short Jnr as Darren Clarke shot 72.

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In amateur golf, Scotland’s Matthew Wilson made five birdies in a three-under 69 to lead the Flogas Irish Amateur Open by a shot from seven Irishmen at The Island.

West of Ireland champion Alan Fahy from Bray, Galway’s Liam Nolan and Castle’s Robert Moran shared second with Co Louth’s Gerard Dunne, Royal Portrush’s Jack Madden, Ballybofey and Stranorlar’s Ryan Griffin, and Co Sligo’s Seán McLoughlin after 70s with holder Peter O’Keeffe tied 26th after a 74.

Soudal Open, live, Sky Sports, 12.0pm

Byron Nelson, live, Sky Sports, 6.30pm

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