With low scores expected throughout the week in Las Vegas, J.J. Henry got things started early Thursday, opening the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open with an 11-under 60 that broke the existing course record at TPC Summerlin.
A two-time PGA Tour winner, Henry played his final six holes in 6 under Thursday, closing with a lengthy eagle putt from off the fringe at the par-5 ninth hole to set the new course mark as well as break his personal best on Tour, which was previously a 61 during the 2006 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
'The golf course was beautiful today, not much wind and the greens were pretty soft,' noted Henry, who tied for 16th at last week's Frys.com Open. 'It was nice to make that putt on my last hole for a little eagle to make lunch taste that much better.'
Henry began his round on the back nine and started slowly, standing on the 15th tee just 1 under for his round. He reeled off three straight birdies from there, though, to turn in 4-under 32 and added another red figure at the par-4 second hole to reach 5 under on the day. From there, the Texan finished with a flurry, carding birdies on Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 8 before his closing eagle.
While he found just eight of 14 fairways during his opening round, Henry reached 17 of 18 greens in regulation and needed just 24 putts, becoming only the 29th player to shoot a 60 during a PGA Tour event. The previous course record at TPC Summerlin was 61, shared by several players including defending champion Ryan Moore, who began with a 61 last year en route to a one-shot victory.
Although Henry's round moved his name to the top of the leaderboard in Las Vegas, several players remain close behind despite his record-setting performance. Andres Romero fired a 10-under 61 to position himself just one shot off the pace after 18 holes, while James Driscoll and former Shriners champion Jonathan Byrd both opened with rounds of 8-under 63.