Ryder Cup hopefuls start well at Czech Masters

VYSOKY UJEZD, Czech Republic (AP) — John Daly matched the course record with an 8-under 64 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead in the Czech Masters.

The 52-year-old Daly was tied with European Ryder Cup hopeful Thomas Pieters of Belgium, Callum Tarren of England and Gavin Green of Malaysia.

Fighting a knee injury that forced him to withdraw after two rounds last week in the PGA Tour Champions’ event in New York, Daly had eight birdies in the bogey-free round at Albatross Golf Resort.

“It was fun,” Daly said. “I hit a lot of good shots and make a few putts. … I drove the ball really well. There were so many pins that were perfect yardages for me — comfortable shots all day long.”

The two-time major champion won the last of his five PGA Tour titles in 2004. He won a Champions event last year in Houston.

England’s Eddie Pepperell had a 68. He needs to win the tournament to move into an automatic qualifying place for the Ryder Cup with one event left after this week.

Play was suspended late in the day for more than an hour because of the threat of lightning.