Brown, Loupe share early Farmers lead; Phil 3 back


Ideal conditions led to some low scores in the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open - even a few on the burly South Course. Here's how things look after the first round in San Diego, where Scott Brown and Andrew Loupe share the early lead:

Leaderboard: Scott Brown (-6), Andrew Loupe (-6), Billy Horschel (-5), Patton Kizzire (-5), Harold Varner III (-5), Rob Oppenheim (-5), Tom Hoge (-5)

What it means: Most of the leaders feasted on the easier North Course, but Brown was among the few players who went low on the track that hosted the 2008 U.S. Open. He and Loupe share the top spot, each in search of a breakthrough victory, while the chase pack includes the likes of Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson.

Round of the day: Brown recorded his lone PGA Tour win at the 2013 Puerto Rico Open, but he is in contention for another trophy after a 6-under 66 on the South Course. Days after his wife gave birth to the couple's second child, Brown reeled off eight birdies over his final 11 holes, including four in a five-hole stretch to close it out on Nos. 5-9.

Best of the rest: Loupe made a big move thanks to bookend eagles on the North Course, playing the four par 5s in 5 under on his round. The former LSU standout also threw in a trio of other birdies against two bogeys as he looks to win on the PGA Tour for the first time.

Biggest disappointment: Rickie Fowler professed to be feeling no ill effects from jet lag, but days after his win in Abu Dhabi he struggled to a 1-over 73 on the easier North Course. Fowler played his first three holes in 3 over to dig an early hole, and now must put together a sub-par effort on the South Course simply to make the cut.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Brown has a great chance to distance from the pack as he heads to the North Course, but keep an eye on some of the big names a little further down the leaderboard. Reed continues his red-hot form in recent months, while Mickelson overcame an early double bogey to post a 69 on the South Course after birdies on four of his final six holes. And don't forget about Scott Stallings, who won here in 2014, lost in a playoff last year and opened with a 68.

Quote of the day: "I felt like it was good carryover from last week, even though there was a mistake here or there. I'm having a lot of fun." - Mickelson