On a day of low scores, Brendan Grace was the best, firing a 9-under 63 to lead by one stroke at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China.
The South African fired nine birdies, four on the front nine and five more on the back in a bogey-free round. With five Top 10 finishes and two wins already this season, he’s sixth on the Race to Dubai points list, and a win could see him challenge for the overall lead.
American Kevin Kisner, Australian Steven Bowditch, and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen are all tied for second at 8-under, followed by Danny Willett, Patrick Red, and Dustin Johnson, the defending champion, at 7-under.
A glut of players tied at 4-under includes those ranked second through fifth in the world: Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, and Rickie Fowler.
Spieth looked on target for the top of the leaderboard early on, at 5-under through 11, but absorbed two bogeys down the stretch.
McIlroy, recovering from food poisoning, was 4-under through 14, double-bogeyed No. 15, then bounced back with birdies on 16 and 18.
Watson, celebrating his 37th birthday, and Fowler each played a bogey-free round.
Fifty-nine of the 78 players were at least 1 stroke under par.