DUBLIN, Ohio — Paul Casey expected to be chasing someone Friday in the Memorial, figuring it would be Rory McIlroy.
After two holes, Casey had the lead to himself at Muirfield Village, and that was only the start of another big day. He took advantage of the par 5s for another 6-under 66, giving him a three-shot lead over Masters champion Bubba Watson going into the weekend.
McIlroy, whose 63 was the lowest first round in the 39-year history of the tournament, was barely in the picture. He was 15 shots worse with a 78, courtesy of three straight double bogeys and his fourth straight PGA Tour event with a nine-hole score of 40 or higher.
Casey, taking another step on a long road back from injuries that nearly derailed his career, was at 12-under 132.
He made his first birdie with his best drive of the day on the par-5 11th, setting up a 4-iron onto the green for a two-putt birdie. He made eagle on the par-5 15th hole for the second straight day, and he stuffed it close around the turn for birdies to start pulling away from the field.
Watson gave him a good run in an active round that featured six birdies, five bogeys and an eagle.
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Jennifer Johnson matched the course record with a 9-under 62 to take the first-round lead in the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Johnson, 22, had 10 birdies — five straight on Nos. 9-13.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Mark Calcavecchia and Wes Short Jr. shot 6-under 66 to share the first-round lead in the Champions Tour’s Principal Charity Classic.
MALMO, Sweden — Spain’s Alvaro Quiros shot a 5-under 67 in the Nordea Masters for a share of the second-round lead with France’s Victor Dubuisson and England’s Eddie Pepperell.