With world No. 3 Rory McIlroy drawing most of the gallery attention, it was Brendan Steele doing the hardest work Thursday at the Frys.com Open, carding a 9-under 63 to take a one-stroke lead.
Steele was a ho-hum 2-under through 10 holes, then caught fire with back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12, and five more in a row to end the round.
He leads Jhonattan Vegas by a single stroke headed into Friday. Vegas was 3-under at the turn thanks to an eagle on No. 5, and raced to 6-under with three straight birdies on 11-13. He gave a stroke back on No. 14 with a bogey, then streaked to three more birdies on 16-18 to close the round.
McIlroy is five strokes off the lead with a 4-under 68. He was 3-under through eight but bogeyed No. 13.