Keegan Bradley used an eagle and a birdie over his final five holes on Thursday to grab a share of the lead with Denmark's Sebastian Cappelen after the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego.
Starting on the back nine of Torrey Pines' North Course, Bradley birdied his first two holes of the day and made the turn in 3-under-par 33. He then reeled off four consecutive pars before eagling the par-5 fifth hole and added a birdie on the par-3 eighth hole to finish at 6-under 66.
That equaled the score posted earlier by Cappelen on the more difficult South Course. Cappelen reached 7 under before a late bogey after driving it into a fairway bunker on the par-4 17th hole.
Rory McIlroy, second in world rankings, is among a host of players at 5 under that also includes former Farmers champion Bubba Watson and reigning Rookie of the Year Sungjae Im. McIlroy carded seven birdies to offset a pair of bogies in the Northern Irishman's first tournament since November.
"I drove the ball well for the most part," he told the Golf Channel. "I hit some pretty good iron shots, I hit some loose ones. Around the greens I was OK. Little rusty around the greens, but with a little bit of play, a little bit more practice and hopefully you'll feel more comfortable as the week goes on."
Among those another shot back is third-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, whose blistering start sputtered after birdying four of his first eight holes on the North Course.
Seven-time champion Tiger Woods also began his tournament on the back nine of the North Course. He overcame an early bogey to finish at 3-under 69 as Woods attempts to win his 83rd PGA Tour title and set the career record he currently shares with Sam Snead.
"I shaped the ball well off the tees," said Woods, who has a new driver in his bag this week. "I didn't quite get the ball into as many fairways as I needed to today, but overall all of my misses were in good spots."
Woods is playing his first full-field event since the ZOZO Championship in October, and his first competitive event since last month's Presidents Cup. He hit eight of 14 fairways, 13 of 18 greens in regulation and needed 29 putts in the first round.
"I have a lot of great memories here," Woods said. "It's great to be back. This was the first golf tournament I ever went to with my dad, so we've been coming down here a long time. This golf course has a lot of great memories, and hopefully tomorrow I can piece that all together again like I did today."
Also in the group of players at 3 under is two-time champion Brandt Snedeker and 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed.
NOTES: Defending champion Justin Rose needed a birdie on the 18th hole to finish at 3-over 75. He is trying to become the event's first repeat champion since Woods (2005-08). ... Two-time champion Jason Day was 3 over through six holes, but battled back to post a 1-over 73 as he makes his return from a back injury. ... The field boasts 18 of the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings and seven of the top 15 players in the Official World Golf Rankings. ... Three-time event winner Phil Mickelson (1993, 2000-01) opened with an even-par 72 on the South Course despite being 2 under through six holes.
--Field Level Media