Martin Laird of Scotland made eight birdies to lead the Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nev., on Thursday with more than just a PGA Tour victory on the line.
Because of the West Virginia floods that led to the Greenbrier Classic being canceled next week, a spot in the British Open has been transferred to the leading player not already eligible at the Barracuda Championship.
The British Open is at Royal Troon and Scotland.
He still has a long way to go and plenty of players, including former champion Gary Woodland, right behind him.
Laird has plenty of experience handling the high altitude of Montreux Golf and Country Club because he left Scotland to play golf at Colorado State and has been based out of America his entire professional career.
He finished with 15 points in the modified Stableford scoring that awards five points for an eagle, two points for a birdie and deducts one point for a bogey and two points for a double bogey or worse.
Woodland, who won at Reno in 2013, was tied for the lead when he missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 17th and then hit his second shot with a 6-iron into the water on the par-5 18th, leading to a bogey that cost him a point. That put him at 14 points along with Camilo Villegas and Greg Chalmers.
Villegas, playing in the same group with Woodland, missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have given him the lead.
The scoring system awards aggressive play. Villegas made seven birdies with no bogeys (that would have been a 65), while Woodland had six birdies and an eagle, offset by three bogeys. In normal play, he would have shot 67. Chalmers also had six birdies, one eagle and three bogeys.
Colt Knost was in the group at 13 points.
Defending champion Brooke Henderson shot a 7-under 65 to take a 2-stroke lead after the opening round of the LPGA Cambia Portland Classic in Oregon.
Picking up where she left off from a year ago, when Henderson shot a 21-under 267 to win her first LPGA tournament, the 18-year-old Canadian hit 16 greens and made nine birdies on a warm, cloudless day at the 6,476-yard Columbia Edgewater course.
Angela Stanford, Demi Runas and Mariajo Uribe each shot 67 to trail Henderson.
Runas, whose best career finish is a tie for 25th, and Uribe are looking for their first LPGA victories. Stanford lost in a playoff in the 2003 U.S. Women’s Open at Pumpkin Ridge, which has previously played host to the Portland Classic. Uribe and Stanford shot bogey-free rounds.
In the midst of drastic changes to his swing, Rory McIlroy shot a level-par 71 at the French Open to lie 5 shots off the lead held by Lucas Bjerregaard after the first round in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France.
McIlroy had four birdies and four bogeys around L’Albatros course at the Le Golf National, the 2018 Ryder Cup host.
Thomas Pieters of Belgium, Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, Bernd Wiesberger of Austria and Adrian Otaegui of Spain were a shot behind Bjerregaard after 67s.