Los Angeles: Monday qualifier Peter Kuest nabbed nine birdies in an eight-under par 64 on Thursday to share the first-round lead with Taylor Moore at the US PGA Tour Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
Kuest, who said he would "probably be fishing right now" had he not earned his tournament berth on Monday, got off to a blazing start at Detroit Golf Club with six birdies in the first nine holes.
He followed a birdie at the 12th with three more birdies and held the clubhouse lead until Moore grabbed four birdies in a late five-hole stretch to join him.
"We did it all pretty well," said Kuest, who is ranked 789th in the world and trying to become the first Monday qualifier to win a PGA Tour title since Corey Conners at the Texas Open in 2021. "We chipped one in on the front, hit a bunch of fairways, hit a bunch of greens, rolled a couple putts in. Just kept it simple."
Moore, who won his first tour title at the Valspar Championship in March, had eight birdies and a chance to tie the course record and take the solo lead at 18, where he couldn't get his 15-foot birdie putt to drop.
"I got off to a better start today and drove the ball pretty good on my front nine," Moore said. "Got into a good rhythm, and obviously the putter got a little bit hot on the back nine, which was cool to see.
"Very pleased with the start."
The duo were one stroke clear of a group of seven players on 65.
That bunch included Swedish rookie Ludvig Aberg, who had a chance to impress playing alongside European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald.
Aberg was nine-under after seven birdies and a chip-in for eagle at the seventh, his 16th hole, but finished with back-to-back bogeys.
"I think right now it's a little bit disappointing, but when I get some perspective on it I think I'll be pretty OK with that round," said Aberg, who turned pro earlier this month.
Aberg was joined on seven-under by England's Aaron Rai and Americans Sam Ryder, Sam Bennett, Dylan Wu, Justin Suh and Adam Schenk.
Wu carded two eagles, holing out from 262 yards out in the fairway at the 14th and making a three-foot eagle putt at the seventh.
Ryder also holed out for an eagle, Rai and Bennett both eagled the seventh and Suh had seven birdies without a bogey.
Two-time major winner Collin Morikawa headlined a trio on 66 but on a low-scoring day defending champion Tony Finau settled for an even par 72 that included four birdies and four bogeys.
Max Homa, the highest-ranked player in the field at ninth in the world, carded a three-under par 69. __ AFP