Chris Nallen, Ryan Armour, Mike Springer, Robin Byrd and Mike Sposa tied for second place at 4-under-par 68.
Christensen started on the 10th at the TPC at Virginia Beach and stumbled out of the gate with a bogey at his opening hole. He came right back with a birdie at the par-4 11th, however, and collected three straight birdies from the 15th to make the turn at 3 under.
'I hit it pretty well but not great off the tee,' said Christensen.
The 28-year-old made it four in a row with a birdie at the par-4 first, but he gave that shot back with a bogey at the following hole. Christensen then birdied the par-5 fifth and picked up a birdie at the par-5 eighth to secure the first-round lead.
'It's probably the best I've putted in a long time,' said Christensen. 'It was those mid-range putts that were the key. I was making more than I normally would. I was seeing the line really well. When you start making putts the hole does seem like it gets bigger.'
Nallen also started on the back side and tallied three birdies and two bogeys over his first nine holes. Nallen then birdied the par-4 fourth and added back-to-back birdies from the seventh for his share of second.
'This is my first full year out here and I'm just starting to get comfortable,' said Nallen. 'I think the more we get going and the more settled I get it will get better.'
Armour used an eagle at the par-5 16th for his round of 68, while Springer collected five birdies and a bogey. Byrd had a share of the lead, but he bogeyed the closing hole and Sposa had a blemish-free round with four birdies.
Bryce Molder, Johnson Wagner, Deane Pappas, Brandt Snedeker, Boo Weekley, Troy Matteson, Tim O'Neal, Danny Ellis, Ben Bates, Scott Gump, Michael Bradley and Tripp Isenhour share seventh place at 3-under-par 69.