Cameron Smith had a respectable opening round at TPC Southwind amid a wave of speculation he has joined the financially lucrative LIV Golf Series.
The world No.2 and Open Championship winner finished the first round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship at three-under to leave himself in the mix of the tour finale.
The Australian’s round was up and down, frustrated by bogies on the turn, but it was highlighted by a magnificent eagle at 13, where the 28-year-old hole out from 156 yards.
While Smith would have been relieved walking off the course in Memphis following a tumultuous month since winning at St Andrews, his compatriot Jason Day enjoyed a day out for other reasons.
The 2015 PGA Championship winner, who has struggled in recent years and missed the US Open and Open Championship, finished at five-under.
The 34-year-old carded a bogey-free round to sit just off the pace in a share of fifth late in the opening round.
It is proving to be a good day for Australia’s six golfers, with Adam Scott in a strong position. Scott was four-under before dropping two shots on 14 after finding the water.
Cam Davis is three-under, while Marc Leishman finished one-under.
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South Korean Kim Si-woo is the clubhouse leader, after he holed out for eagle from the fairway at the 18th hole to grab a share of the early first-round lead alongside J.J. Spaun.
Kim and Spaun both posted eight-under par 62 to open the tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs, the three-tournament series that culminates with the Tour Championship where an $US18 million winner’s prize will be on offer.
American Tony Finau, who started the tournament sixth on the FedEx rankings behind Smith (2nd), is six-under to be tied third alongside compatriot J.T Poston.
THE STANDINGS (top 10)
1: Scottie Scheffler (3,556)
2: Cam Smith (2,335)
3: Sam Burns (2,275)
4: Xander Schauffele (2,153)
5: Patrick Cantlay (2,108)
6: Rory McIlroy (2,104)
7: Tony Finau (1,912)
8: Justin Thomas (1,783)
9: Cameron Young (1,774)
10: Sungjae Im (1,488)
FedEx St. Jude Championship
Dates: Aug. 11-14
Course: TPC Southwind, Memphis
Dates: Aug. 18-21
Course: Wilmington, Del.Wilmington Country Club, Olympia Fields, Ill.
Dates: Aug 25-28
Course: East Lake Golf Course, Atlanta