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Maggert and Merrick share the lead

Memphis - John Merrick bogeyed the 18th hole to fall into a tie with fellow American Jeff Maggert for the lead after Thursday's opening round of the St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee.

Merrick and 2006 tournament winner Maggert registered four-under-par 66s on a day that grew increasingly windy and featured a crowded leaderboard with 15 players within two strokes of the leaders.

John Merrick tees off on the 12th hole at the St Jude Classic golf tournament in Memphis on Thursday. Credit: Associated Press

Tied for third at 67 were Americans Jeff Overton and J.J. Henry, along with India's Arjun Atwal and Noh Seung-yul of South Korea.

US Open champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, trying to make the cut for the first time in four tournaments, was among 11 players bunched at 68.

Others posting two-under-par rounds included US Davis Cup captain Davis Love III and his fellow former major winners Lee Janzen, Padraig Harrington and Yang Yong-eun.

John Daly, a former resident at the Southwind course and another former major winner, also posted a 68 but stood out from the crowd with a bright orange shirt and wildly patterned brown pants. - Reuters

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