Dufner among quartet of CareerBuilder leaders


While two new courses have been added to the rotation at the CareerBuilder Challenge, scores remain low amid "golf in a dome" weather conditions. Here is how things look after the first round in Palm Springs, where Jason Dufner headlines a foursome atop the standings:

Leaderboard: Jason Dufner (-8), Anirban Lahiri (-8), Jerry Kelly (-8), Jeff Overton (-8), Andrew Loupe (-7), Colt Knost (-7), Jamie Lovemark (-7), Bill Haas (-6)

What it means: With the field spread across three different courses, the key was piling on birdies early and often. Overton was the first to turn in a 64, but he was quickly joined by the globetrotting Lahiri, 49-year-old Kelly and Dufner, who is still in search of his first win since the 2013 PGA Championship.

Round of the day: Dufner did team with Brandt Snedeker to win last month's Franklin Templeton Shootout, and that momentum was evident in Thursday's opener. After four birdies in his first seven holes at the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West, Dufner added four more across his final six holes, including a 20-footer on No. 9.

Best of the rest: Lahiri spent last year traveling the world as he pursued cards on both the PGA Tour and European Tour. He accomplished that goal, then took a big step toward a breakthrough win with his bogey-free 64 at La Quinta Country Club. The Indian's round included eight birdies, highlighted by three in a row on Nos. 11-13.

Biggest disappointment: Zach Johnson is one of the highest-ranked players in this week's field, but he has some work to do after a 1-over 73 at La Quinta. Johnson's round included an eagle, two birdies and five bogeys as the reigning Open champ followed his eagle on No. 13 with three straight bogeys.

Main storyline heading into Friday: With this week's course rotation, the field won't exactly level out until after the third round. But an eye should be kept on Dufner, who appears eager to return to his major championship form of three years ago, as well as Haas, the event's defending champ who also won here in 2010 and is off to another hot start.

Shot of the day: Phil Mickelson gave the crowds a big reason to cheer on No. 8 at La Quinta, spinning back a wedge from inside 100 yards that hit the flagstick and dropped for an eagle. He followed with a chip-in birdie on the following hole en route to a 4-under 68 in his first competitive start since the Presidents Cup.

Quote of the day: "It was a fun start to the year. I've had a lot of time off, so it was fun to get back into the swing of it." - Mickelson