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Allred 1 under in Sanderson Farms first round

JACKSON, Miss. — Jason Allred shot a 1-under-par 71 in the first round of the Sanderson Farms Championship Thursday and is tied for 47th place in the PGA Tour event.

The Ashland native received a sponsor exemption into the event.

Allred was 1 over at the turn, then made an eagle at the par-5 11th and birdies at Nos. 13 and 15 to get to 3 under. However, he took a double-bogey 6 on the 16th when his tee shot found a water hazard on the left.

Another player who got in on a sponsor exemption, Sebastian Cappelen, is leading the tournament. The 24-year-old from Denmark shot a 7-under 65 in his first round on tour to take the lead at the Country Club of Jackson. He opened with a bogey before making eight birdies to take a two-shot lead over Robert Streb, Scott Pinckney and Canada’s Nick Taylor.

“I couldn’t be happier, to be honest,” Cappelen said. “Obviously, I came here just trying to get a new experience and get a feel of how it feels like to play on the real tour, and I had a great time out there today. Hit a lot of good shots.”

Cappelen was an All-American in college at Arkansas. He won the Air Capital Classic in June on the Web.com Tour.

He was in good position to earn his PGA Tour card, but a poor performance in the final regular-season Web.com Tour event dropped him to 26th place on the money list — one spot shy of the top 25 finish needed to make the PGA Tour.

“I mean, obviously, it’s a heartbreaker being so close and then not getting it,” Cappelen said. “So getting a chance here where I felt like I should have been, it’s everything. I couldn’t thank the sponsors here more for what they’ve done.”

Cappelen said he had some nerves before the round, but the early bogey was a sobering moment.

“That’s usually how it is for me when I have a good round,” Cappelen said. “I usually start with a bogey on the first hole, and then just kind of like, ‘OK, I’ve got to get going.’”

Play was suspended because of darkness with 15 players unable to finish.

Overnight rain made for a soft course early, but players said it firmed up as the day progressed.

HSBC CHAMPIONS: At Shanghai, Graeme McDowell likes a tough golf course, and Sheshan International was perfect for him. He opened with seven birdies in 12 holes and then hung on in windy conditions for a 5-under 67 that gave him a two-shot lead after one round of the HSBC Champions.

In the 10th year of this tournament, the golf course was tougher than ever with ankle-deep rough and fairways that are not nearly as wide. That didn’t seem to bother McDowell, who only once had to contend with the thick grass.

“A big key to this golf course is driving the ball well. I drove it very well today,” McDowell said. “And the greens are in fantastic shape, and I actually putted very well. Dropped a couple coming in, but all in all, very pleased with 5-under par on what I thought was a reasonably tricky day.”

Rickie Fowler also got off to a fast start before he settled down for a 69, joining a group that included U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer, Brandt Snedeker, Tim Clark, Chris Kirk and Tommy Fleetwood.

Jordan Spieth began his new PGA Tour season with two straight bogeys and had to save par with a long bunker shot on his third hole. He scratched his way back and wound up in a large group at 70 that featured Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson.

Only 27 players in the 78-man field broke par, compared with 37 players under par on the first day last year when the winning score was 24-under 264. McDowell said he wouldn’t be surprised to see something about 12 under win, even if the wind relents.