PGA Tour

Putnam grabs Humana lead

2015-01-23 06:51
Michael Putnam (AFP)

La Quinta - Michael Putnam fired 10 birdies in a nine-under-par 63 on Thursday to grab the lead after the first round of the US PGA Tour's $5.7 million Humana Challenge.

His one-stroke advantage came thanks to a blistering birdie run that included six straight from 12, with Italy's Francesco Molinari and fellow Americans Mark Wilson, Blake Adams, John Peterson and Scott Pinckney sharing second on 64.

It was a further stroke back to defending champion Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar, Jason Kokrak and Steve Wheatcroft.

Putnam, 31, a three-time winner on the developmental tour, is seeking his first US PGA Tour win.

His assault came on the PGA West's Nicklaus Course, one of three in use for the first three rounds of the tournament in the southern California desert.

With birdies sure to abound all week, Putnam said he knew he couldn't afford to rest on the first-round lead.

"You have to mentally throw this one away because you're not going to play the Nicklaus (again)," Putnam said.

"The focus for me is on the Palmer tomorrow 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."

Playing in his first US PGA Tour event since withdrawing from last season's BMW Championship, 42-time Tour winner Phil Mickelson carded a one-under 71 that left him tied for 89th.

Mickelson had three birdies in his first nine holes on the La Quinta course, but had three bogeys and a birdie coming in to lie eight shots off the lead.

"I got off to a pretty good start, and then I just stalled," Mickelson said, adding that he was looking forward to trying to improve on Friday.

"I can't wait to get started again because I feel like I played a little tight today, kind of steered it a little bit," said Mickelson, who lifted the trophy here in 2002 and 2004 but hasn't finished in the top 35 in his past two appearances.

Leading first-round scores on Thursday in the US PGA Tour's $5.7 million Humana Challenge (USA unless noted, par-72):

63 - Michael Putnam

64 - Francesco Molinari (ITA), Mark Wilson, Blake Adams, John Peterson, Scott Pinckney

65 - Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar, Jason Kokrak, Steve Wheatcroft

66 - Pat Perez, Nick Taylor (CAN), Eric Axley, Erik Compton, Heath Slocum

67 - Brendan Steele, Harrison Frazar, Nick Watney, Bryce Molder, Brian Davis (ENG), Charlie Beljan, Brian Stuard, J.J. Henry, James Hahn, Harris English, Charles Howell, Bill Haas, Jason Bohn

Read more on:    humana challenge  |  golf


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.


Which is your favourite event on the golfing calendar?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.