Tyrrell Hatton felt grumpy from not getting much sleep, and then he felt he was in a dream when he was five-under through the opening five holes of the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek.
The reality of Thursday was that even coming off an emotional win at Wentworth and a long trip from London across eight time zones, Hatton hasn't lost his touch. He tied the course record of seven-under 65 for a one-shot lead.
"It's fair to say I'm pretty tired at the moment," Hatton said. "Still struggling a little bit with jet lag. As you can tell by my voice, picked up a little bit of a sore throat on the way over.
"Today was a long day. Very happy with my score, and I just need to try and get back to the hotel, have a good rest and hopefully sleep better than I did last night. And fingers crossed for another good day."
Hatton posted the lowest competitive round at Shadow Creek, mainly because this is the first PGA Tour event at the prestigious club.
Dustin Johnson, not playing this week because of a positive test result for the coronavirus, had a 65 during a casual round in 2015.
“Today was a long day. Very happy with my score, and I just need to try and get back to the hotel, have a good rest and hopefully sleep better than I did last night.” – Tyrrell Hatton
Xander Schauffele birdied the par-5 18th for a 66 and was one shot behind, along with Russell Henley. Jon Rahm and Tyler Duncan were another shot behind.
Rory McIlroy bogeyed his last three holes, a streak that began with him missing a three-foot par putt, for a 73.
Cameron Smith was the best-placed Australian. His three-under 69 leaves him four behind Hatton and in a tie for ninth.
Compatriot Jason Day is a shot behind Smith while Marc Leishman shot a one-over 73.
Brooks Koepka, in his first tournament since taking two months off to heal an ailing left hip, showed plenty of signs of rust. He closed with a short iron into the water on the par-5 18th for a bogey and a 74.
No one had a tougher day than US Open runner-up Matthew Wolff, who didn't make a birdie in his round of 80.
Jordan Spieth salvaged what could have been a rough day. He was so wild off the tee at times that he hit provisional tee shots on three consecutive holes.
He didn't have to use any of them, birdied three straight round the turn to get to one under only to hit a fourth provisional – this one he needed – in making a triple bogey on the 14th. He shot 74.
- Doug Ferguson, Associated Press