July 9 (Reuters) - Canadian Adam Hadwin birdied his final hole to grab the early clubhouse lead at the Workday Charity Open on Thursday while Brooks Koepka, who had not competed since his caddie tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago, struggled.
Hadwin began his round with a bogey at the par-four 10th but was flawless the rest of the way as he shot a six-under-par 66 to sit one shot clear of compatriot Nick Taylor and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
“It’s been building for a while,” Hadwin, who finished in a share of fourth place last week in Detroit, said. “Obviously, had a good week last week and kind of took that momentum into the round.”
World number five Justin Thomas (68) made three late birdies to finish two shots behind Hadwin while Viktor Hovland (69) was a further shot adrift after capping his round in style with six birdies in his final eight holes.
Koepka (74) began on the back nine and struggled initially as he reached the turn at five over after a double-bogey at the par-four 18th.
But the four-times major champion undid some of the damage with three birdies over a four-hole stretch starting at the par-four third and went on to finish eight shots back of the early leaders.
Three-times major winner Jordan Spieth and former Masters champion Patrick Reed were among the late starters at the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout.
This week’s event is being played at Muirfield Village in place of the John Deere Classic, which was supposed to be held in Illinois but was cancelled due to state-related challenges regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)