American Brooks Koepka and Ryan Palmer, and the UK’s Greg Owen all shot 6-under 64s to share the lead at the FedEx St. Jude Classic after one day of competition Thursday.
Fifty-six players are within six strokes of the lead on the player-friendly course.
Koepka is after his second win of the year, having already notched a title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Koepka had six birdies and two bogeys on the front nine to sit at 4-under, then played the back nine at 2-under.
Palmer, who hasn’t won a PGA event since the 2010 Sony Open, played a bogey-free round and notched four birdies between 11 and 18 on the back nine.
Owen, one of the few foreign players at the event, with the Lyoness Open in Austria and the US Open a week away, has never won on the PGA Tour, and his only European Tour win came in 2003. He also shot a bogey-free round, and birdied his final three holes.
Four more players are tied for fourth at a stroke back, and defending champion Ben Crane is one of five others to sit at 4-under, two strokes off the lead.
Crane came blazing out of the starting gate with four straight birdies, but then committed three bogeys between No. 5 and 9. He rallied with three more birdies between 14 and 18 to finish with a 66.
Phil Mickelson, six-time US Open runner-up, is tied for 20th after shooting a 2-under 68. Mickelson was 2-overa at the turn, but strung together four birdies in a seven-hole stretch to get back on the right side of things.
World No. 7 Dustin Johnson withdrew from the event after nine holes because of illness. He bogeyed his first three holes and was 3-over at the turn when he pulled out.