Steven Bowditch of Australia shot a blistering 8-under-par 62 and took a two-stroke lead over Jimmy Walker after the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson at soggy TPC Las Colinas in Fort Worth, Texas, which has been hit by heavy rain in the last week.
The 31-year-old Bowditch, who moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area 10 years ago, birdied five of the first nine holes to go out in 5-under 30 before adding three birdies on the back in his bogey-free round.
The Aussie holed a 24-foot birdie putt on the first hole, added a 30-footer at No. 4, a 29-footer at No. 9 and an 18-footer at No. 14.
“I basically threw a dart at the map when I first came over here in 2005 and then ended up marring me a Texan, so I’m stuck now,” joked Bowditch, whose only PGA Tour victory came last year in the Valero Texas Open.
“I typically don’t make a lot of longer putts. It was really nice. I got off to a pretty good start, made a couple of putts early and had some momentum. The greens are great. They are soft, but you can still make some putts out there.”
Walker, who won the Valero Texas Open in his hometown of San Antonio at the end of March for his fifth victory in the last two seasons, birdied four of his last five holes while finishing his 64 on the front nine.
James Hahn of Alameda and Cal wedged his approach shot to within three feet for a closing birdie on the ninth hole in a 65 that put him in a tie for third with Ryan Palmer, who birdied two of his last three holes.
John Merrick of Long Beach and UCLA birdied three holes on the back nine to card a 66 and was tied for fifth with 2011 PGA champion Keegan Bradley and Tom Gillis, who made his only bogey on the 17th hole.
Local favorite Jordan Spieth, the Masters champion, opened with a 69 and was tied for 33rd and defending champion Brendon Todd was tied for 108th after a 72.