(Reuters) - Zack Sucher made nine birdies to take the first round lead at the Barracuda Championship at the Montreux Golf and Country Club in Reno, Nevada, on Thursday.
The 28-year-old American, who has made only four cuts in 16 tournaments in his rookie PGA season, is on 18 points in the modified Stableford scoring system, three points ahead of Patrick Rodgers and four in front of Ricky Barnes.
“I had last week off, which was nice,” Sucher said. “Worked on a few things with my coach, and they all panned out good today.
“I kept it in play and obviously I putted really well, which was the key.”
David Toms and 2012 winner J.J. Henry were tied for fourth at 12 points apiece.
The scoring format awards players eight points for double eagle, five for eagle, two for birdie, none for par, minus-one for bogey and minus-three for double bogey or worse.
After making four birdies on the front nine, Sucher made five birdies in his opening seven holes on the backside.
On the par-four 17th, Sucher lost his tee shot left, but then watched his ball bounce off a rock and back onto the fairway en route to a par-par finish.
The 23-year-old Rodgers gained special temporary PGA Tour status after some strong showings through sponsor exemptions, including a runner-up finish at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C.
“To take advantage in Charlotte and lock up special temporary status was huge and has really freed me up this summer,” he said.
“Although, I haven’t played my best as of late I feel really comfortable with where I am and I’m excited about next year being out here full time.”
Reporting by Tim Wharnsby; Editing by Greg Stutchbury