April 15, 2021 - 8:10 pm
Updated April 15, 2021 - 9:12 pm
Kevin Dougherty eagled both of the par 5s on the front nine on his way to a 6-under 66 and the first-round lead Thursday at the MGM Resorts Championship at Paiute.
The Oklahoma State alum also had four birdies and two bogeys on a blustery day on the Sun Mountain course to lead Sam Saunders by a stroke. Six golfers are two back, including Las Vegan Harry Hall.
Playing in one of the last groups on the course, Hall made eagle on the par-5 16th to put himself in contention for his first Korn Ferry Tour title.
Dougherty played in the morning and posted his score when the wind was blowing its strongest. His lead was never threatened until Saunders made a charge late in the afternoon with five birdies over his final nine holes.
“I definitely used my length to my advantage,” Dougherty said. “There are probably not a lot of guys that can reach the third hole (in two), so being able to have an eagle putt there was big. Getting the one on No. 7 was a bonus.”
Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer, arrived in Las Vegas looking for some form after breaking his leg skiing this winter. He only got into the field Monday after finishing third in a qualifier at Las Vegas National.
Among other Las Vegas players, Taylor Montgomery salvaged a nightmare round with an eagle on 16 and a birdie on 18 for a 2-over 74. David Lipsky (70), Alex Kang (72), John Oda (73) and UNLV alum Derek Ernst (77) rounded out the local crew.