PGA Tour

Bae, Gonzales share PGA lead

Bae Sang-moon (AFP)
Bae Sang-moon (AFP)

Napa - South Korea's Bae Sang-Moon fired seven birdies with one bogey in a six-under 66 on Thursday to join American Andres Gonzales atop the PGA Tour Open.

In the first event of the US tour's 2014/15 season, Bae and Gonzales topped a tightly packed leaderboard. They were one shot in front of Scotland's Martin Laird, who had five birdies with no bogeys in his five-under par 66 at the Silverado Resort's North Course.

Gonzales, starting his third year on the PGA Tour, has just one top-10 finish in 44 career starts. He has won on the developmental tour, and believes he has the game to succeed on the PGA Tour.

"I've always felt that I've been good enough to be at this level, whether or not I've proven that each year," said Gonzales, whose seven birdies included two in a row to finish. "I've felt that each year I have improved each year."

Bae, owner of one PGA Tour title, birdied his last three holes - and four of his last five - to grab his share of the lead in the afternoon.

"I had a really, really good round, a pretty solid round, and I made a lot of putts and just one bogey today," Bae said. "It was a pretty nice round."

Bae said keeping the ball in the fairway was crucial at Silverado, hosting the event that was held at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, California, last year.

American Brooks Koepka, who finished third last year at CordeValle, was among eight players sharing fourth place on 68. The group also included Australian Aaron Baddeley, South Africa's Tyrone Van Aswegen and Sweden's David Lingmerth.

Defending champion Jimmy Walker struggled to a first-round 75.

Among Walker's US Ryder Cup team-mates teeing it up here 10 days after the Americans fell to Europe in the biennial match play showdown in Scotland, Hunter Mahan carded a two-under par 70 and Matt Kuchar posted a 71.

England's Lee Westwood, also playing after Ryder Cup duty for Europe, opened with a 73.

Leading first-round scores on Thursday in the US PGA Tour $6 million Open (USA unless noted)

66 - Andres Gonzales, Bae Sang-Moon (KOR)

67 - Martin Laird (SCO)

68 - Charlie Beljan, Luke Guthrie, David Lingmerth (SWE), Colt Knost, Brooks Koepka, Aaron Baddeley (AUS), Kyle Reifers, Jon Curran, Tyrone Van Aswegen (RSA)

69 - Stuart Appleby (AUS), Tim Clark (RSA), Cameron Tringale, Jim Renner, Cameron Percy (AUS), Zachary Blair, Marc Leishman (AUS), Retief Goosen (RSA), Chad Campbell, Jerry Kelly, Justin Thomas, Tony Finau

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