Patrick Reed fired a nine-under par 63 to claim the outright lead after the first round of the multi-course Humana Challenge in California.
American Reed's bogey-free round at the Palmer Private course included nine birdies and was his equal career best. However the American is bound for a tougher challenge on Friday as he tackles La Quinta Country Club – the hardest of the three courses used in the tournament. It was an opening where 17 players shot 66 or better. Ryan Palmer came home in seven-under 29, including six straight birdies to close, to post 64 and is tied for second with Justin Hicks, Daniel Summerhays and Charley Hoffman. Meanwhile in-form Zach Johnson carded a bogey-free 65 at La Quinta and is tied for sixth along with a group of seven that includes Bill Haas and Scotsman Russell Knox. That score augurs well for Johnson, especially considering he has three wins from his past seven starts. The major disappointment was Brandt Snedeker, who managed only two birdies during an even-par 72 at La Quinta and sits nine shots off the lead. Other underperformers included Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson who were both tied for 48th. However, Simpson also claimed shot of the day honours. His five-iron tee shot put him within a foot of the 12th hole at Palmer Private, leading to a tap-in birdie. Even more impressive was his tee ball on the 16th – which brought him within three inches of the cup. Reed said his impressive opening round would be a valuable boost to his confidence with more challenging courses to come. "Whenever I was on the green, it was one of those days where everything I read was the right line and I hit the line every time. I got hot with the putter, and when any guy out here gets hot with the putter they're going to go shoot a low number," Reed said.