Piercy sets course record, leads at Safeway


Low scores were plentiful as the PGA Tour kicked off a new season in wine country. Here's how things look after the opening round of the Safeway Open, where Scott Piercy leads after a record-setting performance:

Leaderboard: Scott Piercy (-10), Paul Casey (-8), Patton Kizzire (-8), Johnson Wagner (-7), Kyle Stanley (-7), Bill Haas (-6), Jon Rahm (-6)

What it means: Piercy had several strong showings last season, highlighted by a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, and the veteran carried that momentum into the new season. He set a new course record at Silverado Resort & Spa to build a two-shot cushion as he looks for his fourth-career win, while Kizzire is in search of victory No. 1 and Casey hopes to break a seven-year winless drought.

Round of the day: Piercy made only four pars, and only one over his final 11 holes. The majority of those other scores were birdies, as Piercy's scorecard included 12 circles against just two bogeys. He shot a bogey-free 30 on his outward half, then birdied five of his final six holes to set a new low mark on the North Course.

Best of the rest: At No. 12 in the world, Casey is the highest-ranked player in this week's field and he played like it during an opening-round 64. Casey had a strong run through the FedEx Cup Playoffs and he stayed hot during Thursday's opener, a bogey-free effort that included birdies on each of his final three holes.

Biggest disappointment: Justin Thomas is supporting hurricane relief efforts with each birdie in Napa, but it doesn't appear he'll be able to donate over the weekend after an opening 75. Thomas made five birdies but he also made two triple bogeys on his second nine, coming home in 40 to finish at 3 over, 13 shots behind Piercy.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Piercy and Casey were two of the strongest players over the final few months of the 2015-16 season, so it will be interesting to see which player gains the upper hand during the second round. But don't forget about Phil Mickelson, the headliner in this week's field who opened with a 3-under 69 to sit in the middle of the pack.

Shot of the day: Morgan Hoffmann made the first albatross of the new season during its very first round, holing his approach from 251 yards on the par-5 18th hole. The shot helped Hoffmann to a 2-under 70 that would have been better if not for a closing double bogey on another par-5, No. 9.

Quote of the day: "Today was a good start to the season, good start to get some confidence with the putter.” - Piercy, who needed just 22 putts to complete his round.