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Late birdie blitz sees Ireland's Seamus Power surge into mix

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Seamus Power. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Seamus Power. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Seamus Power. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Seamus Power slammed his foot on the gas and opened with a five-under 67 in the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club.

The West Waterford talent missed the cut in his first two starts since the lockdown on the Korn Ferry Tour.

But he looked keen to take advantage of his first PGA Tour start since the Puerto Rico Open in March as he combined one of his best performances from the tee in some time with some clinical scrambling to sit just two strokes behind clubhouse leaders Doc Redman and Scott Stallings, who shot seven-under 65's.

"Yeah, I drove it very well, which makes a big difference, especially with the rough being up," Power said. "Was kind of frustrating there, especially on the back side, my front side, hit some good drives into par fives, kind of only came away with fives, which is disappointing.

"On the front side, got it together a little bit, birdied both par fives and made one putt, so kind of overall pretty pleased, nice start, especially playing in the afternoon."

Starting at the 10th, Power (33) got up and down for pars at the 11th and 13th, fired a wedge close to set up a birdie at the 14th and turned for home in one under.

The world No 505 took advantage of a 350-yard drive made a seven-footer for birdie at the first, hit a 110-yard wedge to 18 inches at the 618-yard fourth and rattled in a 26 footer at the sixth to get to four-under before getting up and down from greenside rough at the par-five seventh as he came home in 32.

He missed the cut in the event last year but while likes the course, he's not putting himself under pressure to regain full status this week, even though he has limited PGA Tour starts after finishing outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings last term.

Rocket Mortgage Classic, Live, Sky Sports, 11.30am

Irish Independent