Arnold Palmer’s grandson Sam Saunders shot a seven-under-par 64 to claim the first round lead at the US PGA Tour’s inaugural Barbasol Championship.
The tour’s big guns are all away in Scotland playing the British Open, but they would have struggled to keep up with the 27-year-old on Thursday.
“It is just the first round, yes, but it’s always nice to get off to a good start,” said Saunders after his bogey-free effort on Grand National’s Lake Course in Alabama.
Saunders is winless in 45 career starts on the tour, with a career-best tie for second this year in the Puerto Rico Open.
“I had a lot of putts go in for me today, which is nice,” he said. “I haven’t seen that happen in a long time, so it was great.”
Jason Gore was a stroke back at 65 after he birdied four of his last five holes.
“The golf course is just there for the taking,” Gore said. “It’s a great golf course. If these are the scoring conditions, not a breath of wind, greens were holding, you just kind of had to go out and take advantage of it.”
The only Australians in the field, Aaron Baddeley and Mark Hensby, were tied 25th after shooting 69s.