Three-time Champions Tour victor Scott Parel put together a string of three straight birdies and added four more on the back nine to take a one-shot lead after one round at the SAS Championship in Cary, N.C.
Parel averaged 296.5 yards per drive (good for seventh in the field) to finish at 7-under 65.
"I drove the ball good," Parel said. "I don't think I hit anything super close, so I made a bunch of 12-, 15-footers. I had a couple good shots on one par 5, a two-putt, but for the most part it wasn't like I was hitting it three feet. I was keeping it in play off the tee and hitting most of the greens, and when I missed a green, I was always in a pretty good spot to where I was able to get up and down.
"If I can keep driving the ball well and just play good, smart golf, I think I'll be okay."
Parel's top finish so far in 2021 came at the Cologuard Classic, where he tied for third. He previously won at the Chubb Classic in 2020 and the Invesco QQQ Championship and Boeing Classic in 2018.
Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and Robert Karlsson of Sweden are tied for second after each shooting a 6-under 66.
Jaidee got off to a hot start with five birdies on the front nine, while Karlsson weathered three bogeys by firing nine birdies on the day.
"I played great today," Jaidee said. "I missed only one fairway today ... I tried to get my focus to be better this week. I mean like come to qualify, get in this week. The thing is my game getting better, I pick up the putting a little bit today. I hit a lot of good shots today, hit a lot of greens, hit a lot of fairways to give me a chance to hit on the greens."
Lee Janzen and Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez are tied for fourth after shooting 5-under 67s.
Twelve golfers are tied for sixth at 4-under, including eight Americans.
Defending champion Ernie Els is tied for 33rd at 1-under.
--Field Level Media