Brandt Snedeker shot a 5-under 65 in the afternoon to take a two-stroke lead in the last event before the Masters at difficult Memorial Park - top-ranked Dustin Johnson returned from the coronavirus, and fans were back, too, Thursday at the Houston Open. Snedeker is one of 37 players in the field this week set to play at Augusta National.
The tournament — at public Memorial Park for the first time since 1963 — is limiting ticket sales to 2,000 a day. It’s the first domestic PGA Tour event to have fans since The Players Championship on March 12.
Johnson had a 72 — bogeying five of the last seven holes on his front nine — in his return after a positive coronavirus test knocked him out of the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek and the Zozo Championship at Sherwood.
The 39-year-old Snedeker won the last of his nine PGA Tour titles in 2018. He followed a birdie on the par-4 13th with a bogey on the par-4 14th after driving into the right rough, then birdied the par-3 15th and par-5 16th.
Jason Day was tied for second with Scottie Scheffler, Harold Varner III, Carlos Ortiz, Michael Thompson and Cameron Davis.
Brooks Koepka also had a 72. He’s playing for the second time since a two-month layoff to heal injuries. Player partner Lanto Griffin, the winner last year at Golf Club of Houston, also shot 72. Jordan Spieth rounded out the morning threesome with a 72.
Phil Mickelson shot 76. He had two double bogeys and two bogeys.