LOS ANGELES (AFP) – American Brandon Hagy sank a career-best 10 birdies in shooting an eight-under-par 64 to grab the lead after Thursday’s opening round of the United States (US) PGA American Express tournament.
World number 398 Hagy, seeking his first PGA title after missing the cut in five of his past six starts, took a one-stroke lead over South Korean An Byeong-hun.
Scotsman Martin Laird, American Max Homa and 2017 Players Championship winner Kim Si-woo of South Korea were on 66.
The tournament at PGA West in La Quinta, California, was played on the par-72 Nicklaus and Stadium courses.
Hagy, who played the Nicklaus layout, was only one off his PGA career low round score, set last year at La Quinta.
“I’ve been working on some great stuff the past couple of weeks,” Hagy said. “Made those 10-to-15-foot-range birdie putts all day. That’s what you have to do to make 10 birdies.”
Hagy, 29, only made the field when world number two Jon Rahm of Spain withdrew but has made the most of his chance.
Hagy opened with a three-putt bogey, then birdied six of the last seven holes on the front nine, reeling off two stretches of three in a row with a par at the sixth.
He missed the green at the par-three 12th on his way to a bogey but then birdied the next three holes and closed out the round with an eight-foot birdie putt, grabbing the lead alone.