Christiaan Bezuidenhout opened his campaign on the new PGA Tour season with a sparkling nine-under-par 63 on Thursday in the first round of The American Express in La Quinta, California.
Bezuidenhout started his tournament from the 10th tee of La Quinta Country Club, with the event taking in a round on each of Pete Dye Stadium Course, La Quinta Country Club and the Nicklaus Tournament Course ahead of the cut. He birdied his first hole, and picked up four more strokes ahead of the turn. He made four more birdies on his way home.
His nine-under-par total put him in a share of third place, just one stroke off the lead which was shared at 10-under by Zach Johnson of the United States and Alex Noren of Sweden, who also played La Quinta Country Club.
Erik van Rooyen opened with a six-under-par 66, also at La Quinta, to be in a share of 23rd ahead of the second round. Garrick Higgo carded a three-under-par 69 on the Pete Dye Stadium Course to be in a share of 77th.
Postcard-perfect desert conditions and the straightforward nature of this tournament’s three courses in the Coachella Valley unsurprisingly led to low scores from some of the world’s top players as 22 golfers shot 65 or better, including Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas and former champion Si Woo Kim.