Zach Johnson fires 62, leads American Express

January 19, 2024 3:45 pm

[Source: Reuters]

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson ripped off six straight birdies amid a 10-under-par 62 and is tied with Sweden’s Alex Noren for the lead after one round of The American Express on Thursday in La Quinta, Calif.

Johnson and Noren each played their first rounds at La Quinta Country Club, one of three courses used for this week’s tournament. Players will also play a round at PGA West’s Pete Dye Stadium

Course and Nicklaus Tournament Course before a 54-hole cut. The Stadium Course will host Sunday’s final round.

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Johnson, 47, and Noren, 41, have a one-stroke lead on Rico Hoey of the Philippines (63, Nicklaus) and South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout (63, La Quinta).

Not far behind at 8-under 64 are the likes of Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay and 2021 American Express champ Si Woo Kim of South Korea. All three also played La Quinta on Thursday.

While Johnson stayed bogey-free, Noren had an eagle at the par-5 13th offset by a double bogey four holes later. Johnson has not won since capturing the 2015 Open Championship, while Noren has won 10 titles in Europe but none on U.S. soil.

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler opened with a 5-under 67 at La Quinta, while Daniel Berger shot a 4-under 68 at the Stadium Course in his first round on tour since the 2022 U.S. Open. Berger is making his return this week after rehabbing a back injury.