Will Gordon matched the lowest round of his PGA career with a nine-under par 62 to grab a one-stroke lead after Thursday's opening round of the PGA Mayakoba Championship.
The 26-year-old American made eight birdies and an eagle against a lone bogey to stand one stroke ahead of compatriot Russell Henley after 18 holes at El Camaleon in Riviera Maya, Mexico.
"I was in a fairway almost every hole," Gordon said. "So you have a lot of opportunity to hit the ball close. And with the putter hot, it was a pretty smooth day.
"It's just really about managing my expectations and my emotions, so I feel like I did a good job of that today. Kind of let the round come to me and I putted it really well."
Sharing third on 64 were Italy's Francesco Molinari, the 2018 British Open champion, and Americans Scott Piercy, Sam Ryder and Harris English.
Two-time defending champion Viktor Hovland of Norway and second-ranked Scottie Scheffler, the reigning Masters champion who could overtake Rory McIlroy for world number one with a victory, were in a pack on 65.
Gordon, chasing his first PGA title, had a chance at breaking 60 after a sizzling start but settled for tying his prior best from the second round of the 2020 Travelers Championship, where he achieved his best career PGA finish by sharing third.
World number 205 birdied the second and third holes and eagled the par-5 fifth, then got up and down out of a greenside bunker to birdie the par-5 seventh hole.
He began the back nine with four consecutive birdies before taking his first bogey at the par-4 14th after finding a greenside bunker. Gordon responded with a birdie from the rough at 16.
"Primarily just getting the ball in play off the tee out here is so important," Gordon said. "There's not really any room for error off the tee and I did a great job with that and was able to convert with my putter."
- Scheffler, Hovland near -
Scheffler, who had a bogey-free round, won his first four PGA titles in a two-month span from February through the Masters in April and became world number one, a spot he will regain by winning or finishing second alone this week.
"I felt pretty efficient. When I hit really good shots, I hit it really close to the hole," Scheffler said. "I had a lot of tap-in birdies, which is nice.
"Any time you can stay bogey-free, it's a really nice day."
Hovland, ranked 11th, started on the back nine and made two birdies but had two bogeys thanks to shots into water before the turn, then closed with four birdies and an eagle on the front side, his second nine.
"Didn't hit any iron shots in the water on the front so that usually helps," Hovland said. "I played pretty well. It was just two shots that cost me three.
"I kept telling myself, yeah I'm a little bit behind pace but if I just keep playing well I can get back into it and I certainly did that."
"I'm chipping the ball pretty well. Putting good again. It's about minimizing the mistakes."