Houston - D.A. Points fired an eight-under-par 64 to grab a one-stroke lead at the Houston Open on Thursday as Rory McIlroy's bid to reclaim his world number one status got off to a shaky start.
Points, who started on the back nine, has a slim lead over fellow Americans Cameron Tringale and John Rollins, who each carded a seven-under 65 at the Redstone Golf Club on Thursday.
"They're not super difficult holes," Points said. "But if you hit it where you're looking and you leave it in the right spot, you make a good stroke, you give yourself good chances to make birdies.
"Today I finally saw some balls go in the hole."
Points started quickly as he rolled in a pair of putts from over 11 feet during his opening birdie run.
Points said his used his mother's old putter during the round.
"You know, it was one of those rounds where I felt like I was going to putt pretty well because I changed the putter and had a putting lesson and was feeling pretty good," said Points.
Points made the turn at six-under after nailing a 55-foot birdie putt at the 17th.
He converted another lengthy putt at the third from 36 feet but then recorded his lone bogey of the day at the fifth.
He had a five-foot birdie putt at the eighth and closed his round with a par to take the clubhouse lead.
But while Points was red hot, McIlroy's hopes of wresting back his world number one status from Tiger Woods suffered a setback.
McIlroy carded a one-over-par 73 in a round which included a double-bogey on the par-three eighth. He finished with three bogeys.
After struggling on the front nine, McIlroy rebounded after the turn making birdie on three of his first four holes.
"It wasn't the start I wanted," McIlroy said.
"I made a couple quick birdies to start back nine which helped. I started to commit to my shots on back nine bit more which helped. Hopefully I can go out there tomorrow in good conditions and get some back."
Elsewhere Jason Kokrak and Angel Cabrera, of Argentina, are tied for third place with six-under 66s.
Steve Wheatcroft, who made bogey on two of his final five holes, is joined by Jeff Overton and Brian Davis, of England, in sixth place at five-under 67.
Tringale opened his bogey-free round with three straight pars before draining a three-foot birdie putt at the fourth.
He then made consecutive birdie putts of seven and five feet at the seventh and eighth holes before making the turn. He posted three-consecutive birdies from the 10th to close the gap on Points.
Leading first-round scores on Thursday from the $6.2 million PGA Tour's Houston Open (USA unless noted, par-72):
64 - D.A. Points
65 - Cameron Tringale, John Rollins
66 - Angel Cabrera (ARG), Jason Kokrak
67 - Jeff Overton, Brian Davis (ENG), Steve Wheatcroft
68 - Jimmy Walker, Lee Westwood (ENG), Matt Jones (AUS), John Merrick, Charley Hoffman, Billy Horschel, Bud Cauley, Bill Haas, Greg Owen (ENG)
69 - Henrik Stenson (SWE), Dustin Johnson, David Lingmerth (SWE), Charles Howell, Harris English, Brandt Jobe, Tim Herron, Jin Park (KOR), Ben Crane, Hunter Haas