It's been three years since Kyle Stanley last won on Tour, but through 18 holes in Puerto Rico, he's on track to potentially nab his third victory.
Stanley, who started with three straight birdies, carded a career-high nine in total during an 8-under 64 Thursday to take the first-round lead at the PGA Tour's Puerto Rico Open, played opposite this week's the WGC-Mexico Championship. He hit all 18 greens in regulation and dropped his only shot when he three-putted at the par-3 eighth.
The winner at the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open and 2017 Quicken Loans National, Stanley has had a rough 14 months, falling from No. 34 in Official World Golf Ranking at the beginning of 2019 down to 149th. He's made only 4 of 11 cuts this season and is coming off a tie for 64th last week at the Genesis Invitational.
"To be honest, I really haven't been playing that well the past month or so," he told reporters. "I really struggled with my ball-striking last week in L.A., but felt like I putted pretty well. Just tried to clean up a few things in my swing and continue with some good putting prep leading into today. Thought I rolled it great and ball-striking was a little bit better. So yeah, I'm just trying to kind of find some better form and it was nice to see a round like this today."
Two back in a six-way tie for second is Peter Uihlein, who just last week held the 54-hole lead at the Korn Ferry Tour's LECOM Suncoast Classic before a final-round 74 dropped him into a tie for 20th.
Pre-tournament betting favorite Viktor Hovland sits four back in a tie for 14th after an opening 68.
While additional events do not offer invitations to the Masters, the winner nonetheless receives a two-year PGA Tour exemption, 300 FedExCup points, and an exemption into both The Players Championship and the PGA Championship.