Thousand Oaks: Former Masters champion Zach Johnson charged into a share of the lead in the Chevron World Challenge first round.
In the absence of troubled tournament host Tiger Woods, the straight-hitting Johnson took advantage of ideal scoring conditions to fire a four-under-par 68 at Sherwood Country Club.
Johnson ended a day of dazzling sunshine and hardly any wind level with Britain`s Ian Poulter, who held a two-shot lead over his 17 rivals in the elite field before double-bogeying the last.
Ireland`s three-times major winner Padraig Harrington opened with a 69 to finish a stroke in front of Americans Jim Furyk and Stewart Cink and South Korean Yang Yong-eun.
"I wanted to come here fresh and that I am," Johnson told reporters after recording birdies on all four of the par-five holes. "I took 16 days off before I hit a ball after (the) Disney (Classic), and most of it was by choice. There were a couple of times I could have practised but I just didn`t do it.”
"My point this week is ... to get ready for the 2010 season and for me to work out," added the 33-year-old American, who clinched his first major title at the 2007 Masters.
"It`s going well. I feel like my game is in a position good enough to win"
Poulter, feeling a little jaded after playing in Asia for the five previous weeks, was frustrated by his sloppy finish which featured a wild tee shot into trees and a three-putt on the 18th.