J.B. Holmes and Justin Hicks made the most of perfect California weather to seize the lead at the $6.8 million Pebble Beach Pro-Am, with John Daly a surprising early contender just a stroke adrift.
The red-hot Holmes, fresh off a playoff loss to Australian Jason Day at Torrey Pines on Sunday, opened his round with an eagle at the par-four 10th hole on the par-72 Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of three courses in use in the first three rounds of the US PGA Tour event.
He nabbed seven birdies and one bogey before he was done with an eight-under 64, and Hicks joined him atop the leaderboard with a bogey-free round that included six birdies and an eagle at Pebble Beach`s par-five 18th.
A string of familiar faces were lined up behind them on seven-under -- Daly perhaps the biggest surprise among them.
The two-time major champion, now 48 and without a US PGA Tour win since 2004, birdied the 18th on Pebble Beach for a 65 that put him tied with Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, Chesson Hadley, Dudley Hart and J.J. Henry.
Hart and Henry also carded 65s on Pebble Beach, which in benign weather is typically the easiest of the three courses in the rotation.
Furyk, Snedeker and Hadley all posted seven-under 64s on the par-71 Monterey Peninsula layout.
But Daly, as famous these days for his colorful clothing, off-course antics and hulking frame as his golf, stole the show.
"They don`t come easy and they don`t come often," Daly said of his bogey-free round. "I`m happy about it and hopefully I can just keep the same rhythm I had today. I don`t know how or why. I just found something on the range."
Daly, who did win a 54-hole pro-am event in Turkey in December, averaged 322 yards off the tee.
"As long as I still hit the driver well and hit some fairways," he said, "I still think I can compete."
Furyk, making his season debut, is seeking his first win in a tournament in which his best finish was a tie for third in 1998. Snedeker won the title in 2013.
Alex Prugh had the best score at the par-72 Spyglass Hill, a six-under 66 that earned him a share of ninth place with Australians Rod Pampling and Matt Jones, and fellow Americans Nick Watney, Pat Perez and Max Homa.