David Berganio, Jr., tied the Spyglass course record by firing a flawless eight-under-par 64 to grab the 18-hole lead, while Mark Johnson, a conditional player on the Buy.Com Tour, and Tommy Armour III share second place after shooting a pair of 65s at Poppy Hills.
Tiger Woods, who battled through a knee injury, is in a group at six-under. Woods, who shot 66 at Spyglass, is tied with Brad Elder (Spyglass), Edward Fryatt (Poppy Hills) and last year's runner-up, Vijay Singh (Pebble Beach).
Berganio's Pebble Beach adventures began Tuesday when he was informed at a rental-car agency that his driver's license had expired.
'I called my mom, she checks my mail. I said, `Did I get any notice,' and she said, `Yeah, I told you,'' Berganio said. 'Then I recalled that she'd told me two months ago, and it's a coincidence because last year I qualified for the U.S. Open and my caddy came up to rent a car and his driver's license was expired.'
Berganio, who turned 32 on January 14th, had to get a ride to the course from his caddie. He said he only played 27 holes before teeing it up on Thursday.
It didn't seem to affect him. On a glorious day on the Monterey Peninsula, the eight-year professional carded eight birdies and no bogeys to tie Dan Forsman (1993) and Steve Lowery ('95) for the Spyglass course record.
'Today was the day if you're going to shoot low at Spyglass. To me that's the toughest course,' Berganio said.
It's been a well-traveled road for the California native en route to leading this prestigious event. Berganio grew up on a par-62 public golf course in Sylmar, Calif. A two-time U.S. Public Links champion, he played alongside Jim Furyk at the University of Arizona.
In 1997, Berganio made his way to the PGA Tour, where he finished 155th on the money list to drop back down to the Buy.Com Tour, which he played in 1998-2000. Last year, he collected four top-10s, including a victory at the Omaha Classic, to regain his PGA Tour card.
'I've had a lot of success at every level and I think I can do well out here,' said Berganio, whose best PGA Tour finish came in a tie for ninth at the `97 Buick Challenge. 'One thing I did do that I'd never done in the past was I sought some help from a sports psychologist this year.'
Thanks to a long conversation with his teacher, Berganio went to see Allen Jaeger, who primarily works with baseball pitchers.
'Allen told me, `David, how can you go to fight with not the complete ammunition?' He was right. You work and work on your physical game, but not the mental side.'
Berganio, who admits to having a short attention span, said Jaeger worked with him to 'stay in the present.'
It seems to have worked. At least for one round.
While Berganio is enjoying the present, so too is Johnson, who is competing in his first PGA Tour event.
Johnson has a unique story. He's a 46-year-old beer-truck driver, who's worked for Anheuser-Busch in Barstow, Calif., for 20 years. He's also an accomplished golfer. In fact, Johnson won the California State Amateur championship in 1996 on this very venue.
The Monday qualifier showed his preference for the layout by sporting a nifty opening-round of 65. His 'awesome day' included seven birdies and no bogeys on the Poppy Hills course.
Of course, if Johnson's playing then he's not working. That means his fellow drivers are doubling up to cover his absence.
'The drivers always take the extra load and take the extra routes and stuff for me and made it possible for me to be here today,' said a grateful Johnson.
'The reason I'm doing all this, I'm trying to gear myself towards the seniors.'
For now, however, he'll have to fend off a host of players much younger than himself, as well as a couple of other Johnsons - Richard and Kevin - who each shot rounds of 67 at Spyglass to earn a tie for eighth after Round One.
News, Notes and Numbers
*David Berganio, Jr., a big-time Los Angeles Lakers fan, is paired with former Boston Celtics great Bill Russell in the Pro-Am. Said Berganio: 'We didn't talk much about the Lakers. He was awesome, a nice guy.'
*Last week, Brad Elder carded five straight birdies to grab a share of the first-round lead at the Phoenix Open. Thursday, he recorded six in a row at Spyglass to earn a share of fourth place.
*Spike McRoy also strung together six straight birdies at Pebble Beach. After starting the day with four bogeys and a triple bogey over his first seven holes, he finished the day at one-under-par.
*Three of the top seven players on the leaderboard are recent graduates of the Buy.Com Tour - Berganio (11th, 2000), Elder (11th, 1999) and Edward Fryatt (5th, 1999). Two other players, Richard and Kevin Johnson (no relation), are tied for eighth.
*David Duval used his old Titleist irons in shooting a three-over-par 75 at Spyglass. Duval played Nike irons for the first time at last week's Phoenix Open, where he missed the cut.
*89 players broke par in the first round. With all courses playing at a par of 72, Spyglass ranked as the hardest in Round One with an overall scoring average of 71.983. Pebble Beach came in second at 71.683, while Poppy Hills played the easiest at 71.300.
Full-Field scores here