PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico (AP) – Will Claxton shot a 5-under 66 in windy conditions Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Making his fifth career start on the PGA Tour, the 30-year-old former Auburn player had four straight birdies early on his back nine on the El Camaleon course.
Charles Howell III, Greg Owen, John Huh, Marc Turnesa, Alejandro Canizares, Matt Every and Mark D. Anderson were tied for second.
Claxton and Turnesa had the only bogey-free rounds.
Kevin Stadler, Josh Teater, Dicky Pride, Seung-Yul Noh, Hunter Haas, David Hearn, Michael Allen and Sunghoon Kang shot 68.
Champions Tour player Nick Price opened with a 69.
Defending champion Johnson Wagner had a 73. Wagner won the Sony Open in Hawaii in January and tied for second the following week in the Humana Challenge in California.
Last year, he beat Spencer Levin with a par on the first hole of a playoff.
Levin also opened with a 73.
Greg Norman, the El Camaleon designer, had a 79. The 57-year-old Norman played in a group with Johnson and Levin.
Mike Weir struggled to a 79 in his second start of the year.
Coming off surgery on his right elbow in August, the Canadian missed the cut two weeks ago in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and failed to secure a sponsor exemption last week for the Northern Trust Open at Riviera.
Mexico's Jose de Jesus Rodriguez nearly aced the par-3 eighth, but his ball bounced out of the cup. He then made a 25-foot birdie putt, and finished with a 71.