Hatton on top at CJ Cup after hot start

England’s Tyrrell Hatton was 5 under par through his first five holes Thursday, and he ended the day leading the CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.

Hatton wound up with a 7-under-par 65 at Shadow Creek Golf Course, giving him a one-stroke edge on Russell Henley and Xander Schauffele. Tyler Duncan and Spain’s Jon Rahm share fourth place at 67 while Joel Dahmen, Ryan Palmer and Kevin Streelman are tied for sixth place at 68.

Justin Thomas, who won the event last year on Jeju Island in South Korea, sits at even par, tied for 32nd. The event was moved from Asia to Nevada due to travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hatton won the BMW PGA Championship in Virginia Water, England, on Sunday, and he showed that stellar form again at the start of his Thursday round. Starting on the back nine, he birdied Nos. 10 and 11, holed a 92-yard shot from fairway for an eagle on No. 12, parred No. 13 and then birdied No. 14.

All this despite battling fatigue.

“It’s fair to say I’m pretty tired at the moment,” Hatton said after the round. “Still struggling a little bit with jet lag. And you can tell by my voice, picked up a little bit of a sore throat if you like on the way over. …

“Today was a long day. Very happy with my score and I just need to try and get back to the hotel this evening, have a good rest and hopefully sleep better than I did last night and fingers crossed for another good day tomorrow.”

Hatton added about his opening stretch, “(It was) almost like I was in a dream. … We got off to a great start. It was nice to have momentum early. I imagine it would have been a lot tougher round if being as tired as I was we didn’t quite have that momentum. To shoot that score today, I’m really happy.”

Hatton, who is up to a career-high world ranking of No. 10, is looking for his second win on the U.S. PGA Tour after capturing the Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier this year. The BMW PGA title was his fifth victory on the European tour.

Henley carded an eagle at the par-5 18th hole. He also had five birdies and one bogey.

Schauffele was 5 under through seven holes, and he ended the day with seven birdies and a bogey.

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson withdrew from the tournament earlier this week after testing positive for COVID-19.

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