Cink, Laird share early lead at Shriners


Low scores are expected all week at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and the players did not disappoint in the opening round. Here's how things look after the first day in Las Vegas, where a pair of veterans share the lead:

Leaderboard: Stewart Cink, (-7), Martin Laird (-7), Russell Knox (-6), Jarrod Lyle (-5), Hideki Matsuyama (-5), Bo Van Pelt (-5), Brian Stuard (-5), Andrew Svoboda (-5), Sam Saunders (-5)

What it means: Laird and Knox both got off to hot starts to put the Scottish flag atop the leaderboards at TPC Summerlin, but Cink later joined the fray. Several players remain in contention after 18 holes, notably Lyle who is playing this week on a sponsor invite and making just his second PGA Tour start since February 2012.

Round of the day: Laird tied for third last week at the Open and he has successfully carried that momentum to Sin City. The Scot hit all 18 greens in regulation during the opening round, with birdies on three of his first four holes. Laird made the turn in 5-under 35 and closed with a birdie on the home hole to finish off his bogey-free 64.

Best of the rest: Cink began slowly with seven straight pars before catching fire, notching five birdies across a six-hole stretch from Nos. 8-13. Like Laird, he made it around TPC Summerlin without a bogey as he looks to win for the first time since his 2009 Open Championship triumph.

Biggest disappointment: Billy Horschel's even-par 71 usually wouldn't be cause for concern, but in an event where the winning score will exceed 20 under the reigning FedEx Cup champ is now playing from behind. Horschel made three birdies from Nos. 13-16 but failed to notch a birdie elsewhere on the course, playing his final 11 holes in 2 over to fall outside the projected cut line.

Main storyline heading into Friday: While it appears likely that Laird, a 2009 winner and 2010 runner-up in this event, will remain near the top, the biggest story continues to be Lyle as he attempts to chip away at the obligations of his major medical extension. Should he continue to contend for the title, Lyle will make a late charge for the biggest story in golf in 2014.

Shot of the day: Andres Romero took a page out of Jonathan Byrd's Vegas book, making a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th from 196 yards. The ace helped propel Romero to a 4-under 67 in the opening round.

Quote of the day: "The goal is the same. I've got a job to do, and I've got to make as much money as I can to regain my playing privileges out here." - Lyle, who needs $250,525 in the next 19 starts to satisfy his major medical extension.