Different paths, same motive; Marty Dou, Carl Yuan eye Houston high

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Marty Dou - TheGolfingHub
After posting two top-25 finishes recently, Marty Dou is keen to keep his foot on the pedal as he chases a career first top-10 on the PGA TOUR. Photo: Getty Images

Chinese duo Marty Dou and Carl Yuan produced strong finishes to post matching 3-under 67s on Thursday to lie two strokes off the first round lead at the Cadence Bank Houston Open.

Dou, who is enjoying a second stint on the PGA TOUR, ended his day with a flourish with three successive birdies on Hole Nos. 15, 16 and 17 at the Memorial Park Golf Course while Yuan, featuring in his rookie season, birdied his closing two holes.

Related: After rough initiation of PGA Tour, Carl Yuan seeks redemption

Sweden’s Alex Noren and the U.S. trio of Tony Finau, Aaron Wise and Tyson Alexander share the lead following 65s. Korea’s Si Woo Kim and rookie S.H. Kim, meanwhile, carded five birdies against three bogeys for 68s to stay close to the lead.

 

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After missing the cut in his first three tournaments, Yuan was delighted with his opening 67. He turned in 34 following three birdies and two bogeys before ending his day with a tap-in birdie on 17 and a nine-foot conversion at the last.

“I’m satisfied with the score but my ball striking was not very satisfactory,” conceded the 25-year-old Yuan, who finished second on the Korn Ferry Tour last season to earn his PGA TOUR card.

“The main thing is the strategy is better because this golf course is difficult. With many long holes, if you make par, it’s a good result. I attacked some greens and had to make a couple of putts to save par on several holes which was good. However I didn’t play the par-5s very well which hopefully I can play them better tomorrow.”

 

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Dou converted putts from inside of seven feet for his three straight birdies towards the end of his round. After posting two top-25 finishes recently, the 25-year-old is keen to keep his foot on the pedal as he chases a career first top-10 on the PGA TOUR. No mainland Chinese golfer has won on the PGA TOUR as well.

“I think played well as this golf course is difficult. There were a few mistakes in the middle of my round as I was 3-under early on and fell back to even par. The greens here are very challenging and difficult to hit due to its shape. It’s a very punishing golf course and when you’re out of position, you can easily make bogeys.”