Noren starts fast in Honda

23 February 2018 04:13:58 EST

Alex Noren continued his fine form Stateside as a four-under-par 66 gave him a share of the first-round lead after the opening 18 holes of the Honda Classic.

The Swede's morning lap of the tough Champion Course at PGA National was later matched by former US Open winner Webb Simpson, the duo finishing a shot clear of Justin Thomas, Louis Oosthuizen, Daniel Berger, Morgan Hoffman and Mackenzie Hughes.

Noren has been a prolific winner on the European Tour in recent years and is now trying to secure a debut success in America.

He had a near-miss in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines last month when losing a play-off to Gary Woodland and has followed that with tied 21st at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and tied 16th in last week's Genesis Open at Riviera.

Noren is 1000/1 to come out on top at the Honda Classic this week, while Simpson is 1000/1 and Thomas 1/7.

After shooting five birdies against a single bogey on day one, the World No.16 said: "The greens are firm. It's so windy. Yeah, I definitely would have taken anything under par.

"It comes down to putting sometimes, and you know, I played decent on the front and then scrambled my way around the back.

"I came over here to try to play some more American-style courses, get firmer greens, more rough, and to improve my driving and improve my long game. So it's been great. The second place at Torrey was a highlight, even though I wanted to win it.

"I spend the winters down the street here, 15 minutes away. So I'm used to wind, but it's very tricky when it's so firm. You've got to land the ball very short on the greens sometimes downwind and you've got to hit so many good iron shots.

"On the West Coast, we had almost too good of a weather. We haven't played in much wind yet."

Tiger Woods continued his comeback with a solid even-par 70 to sit tied 21st whilst Rory McIlroy stumbled to a two-over 72 after making a double-bogey 7 at his final hole and is now 2000/1 to win the event.

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