Putnam leads Humana with 63

Michael Putnam shot 9-under-par 63 to take a one-stroke lead over Francesco Molinari if Italy, Mark Wilson, Blake Adams, John Peterson and Scott Pinckney after one round of the Humana Challenge in La Quinta.

Putnam, who played at Pepperdine, blitzed the back nine on the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West with seven birdies, including six in a row through No. 8, capping a stretch of nine birdies in 11 holes.

“You have to … mentally throw this one away because you’re not going to play the Nicklaus (again),” said Putnam, who has three victories as a professional, all on the Web.com Tour, including the Mexico Championship and the Mid-Atlantic Championship, both in 2013.

“The focus for me is on the Palmer (Friday) and then La Quinta on Saturday. There’s a lot of birdies going to be made in 54 holes by a lot of guys. So I have to make a lot of birdies.”

Wilson, who has five PGA Tour victories including the 2012 Humana, collected seven birdies and an eagle on the 13th hole in his 64 on the Nicklaus Course, while Molinari had a bogey-free 64 on the Palmer Course.

Adams started at No. 10 and made six consecutive birdies through No. 1 and was at 9-under before a bogey on his last hole on the Palmer Course, while Peterson had an eagle and six birdies on the Palmer Course, and Pinckney carded nine birdies at La Quinta Country Club.

Defending champion Patrick Reed, coming off his victory in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, had a bogey-free 65 at La Quinta that included five consecutive birdies through No. 15, and was two shots back in a tie for seventh that included Matt Kuchar, who made his only bogey on the last hole at La Quinta.

Phil Mickelson, coming off a winless 2014, made three birdies in four holes through No. 6, but had three bogeys on the back nine and shot 71 at La Quinta to tie for 89th in his first round of the year.

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