NAPA, Calif. (AP) Brendan Steele began the new PGA Tour season by making five straight birdies on his way to a 9-under 63 and the early lead in the Frys.com Open.
Rory McIlroy is in between two seasons and opened with a 68.
In ideal conditions Thursday at Silverado, Steele had no stress. The only green he missed was on the par-3 seventh, where he got up-and-down for birdie. He finished the back nine with five straight birdies for a 29 and cooled only slightly on the front nine.
He had a one-shot lead over Jhonattan Vegas, who is playing on a sponsor's exemption. Harold Varner III made his rookie debut with a 65.
McIlroy is playing the Frys.com Open before going to Asia to wrap up the European Tour season.