American trio Tom Pernice Jnr, Troy Matteson and Spencer Levin were locked in a three-way tie for the lead at the end of the first round of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.
Fifty-year-old Pernice, a winner on the Champions Tour at the SAS Championship last month, laid down the gauntlet with a bogey-free nine-under-par 62 and was joined in a share of the overnight lead by Matteson, the 2006 winner, who fired 10 birdies and an eagle.
“I got off to a really good start, which was nice, and continued to have a really good round,” Pernice said in quotes reported on www.pgatour.com.
“Good, quality iron shots first really set it up. The iron shots really were the key. And the conditions are obviously perfect here.”
Levin joined the party at the top of the leaderboard late in the day, seven birdies and an eagle ensuring the 25-year-old Californian enjoyed a career-best round on the PGA Tour. His previous best – a 63 – came earlier this year in Milwaukee.
Scotland’s Martin Laird – the only non-US player inside the top 12 – and Bob Heintz were locked in a tie for fourth place a shot further back on the leaders while three-time Las Vegas winner Jim Furyk recovered from two early bogeys to fire a 64 and claim a share of sixth place alongside Scott Piercy.
“It was a slow start, but I don’t know if it was a rough start,” Furyk said.
“You just have to stay patient. A lot of it is your mental frame.
“I was one-under par after eight holes today. I really got it going, making a nice birdie on 18. I then hit it close on one, two, three and four and was able to birdie those holes.”
Tim Petrovic, Jeff Klauk, Kirk Triplett, Briny Baird and Robert Garrigus finished the opening round at six under par.