Cameron Champ has quickly earned a reputation as the longest driver on the PGA Tour, but the American showcased a full array of skills to hold a one shot lead at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi.
The 23-year-old carded a classy seven-under opening round 65 to sit atop the leaderboard before darkness prevented 15 players completing their rounds on a rain-softened Country Club of Jackson course.
Champ, who averaged 343 yards off the tee on the second-tier Web.com Tour last season, carded eight birdies and a solitary bogey to lead compatriot Cameron Tringale.
South African Rory Sabbatini and Argentina's Andres Romero were among a group of six a shot further back on five-under.
Champ finished sixth on the secondary circuit money list last year to earn promotion to the PGA Tour.
He used the fastest clubhead speed on Tour to generate an average drive of 328 yards at the first event of the season recently – nine yards more than Tour leader Rory McIlroy managed last year.
Champ showed his power on the 18th on Thursday when he smashed his drive 346 yards before flicking a wedge to tap-in distance to cap off his day with a closing birdie.
RIGHT: Champ holds the early lead at the Sanderson Farms Championship. PHOTO: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images.
Despite his obvious power, Champ also showed he could dial down that part of his game, depending on the conditions.
"Obviously with the (damp) conditions ... one thing led to another. I started making some putts, got a key up-and-down on 16 and finished with a nice birdie on 18," he said.
Curtis Luck and Cameron Davis complete their opening rounds on Friday after darkness forced them from the course.
Luck was two-under with two to play while Davis will finish even par if he can birdie his last hole.
Matt Jones and Stuart Appleby completed 73s while Aaron Baddeley started with a 74.
The tournament is being contested by rookies and journeyman with the world's leading players either at the World Golf Championships event in China or enjoying a week off.