In-form Zach Johnson is the 3/1 favourite with Bet365 for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in Texas after taking the first-round lead with a flawless six-under-par 64.
The 2007 Masters champion, runner-up in two of his last three tournaments, holds a one-shot advantage as he aims to repeat his 2010 victory in Fort Worth – his last win.
Johnson gave a glimpse of what was to come by sinking a 40ft birdie putt on his first hole, the 10th, and later tamed the gusty wind that blew through the oaks of Hogan's Alley to fire four straight birdies.
“I got off to a good start, just hit some quality shots,” said Johnson. “I didn't put myself ever in a position that was too worrisome.
“I kept the golf course in front me. I attacked when I could attack. I had a couple of nice saves when I needed them. I've zero complaints.”
Jason Dufner, who has won two of the four most recent PGA Tour events including last week’s Byron Nelson Championship, is a stroke back along with tour rookie Harris English, Tom Gillis and Kyle Reifers.
Dufner is the 9/2 second favourite with Bet365
, who have three players all at 14/1 – English, Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler.
English was carrying on the good work that enabled him to qualify for the Open championship earlier in the week. “I’ve never had three bogey-free rounds in a row before,” he said.
Garcia, the 2001 Colonial champion, is two strokes off the pace as he seeks his first PGA Tour win for four years, while Fowler shot two under to be four out of the lead.