David Toms rolled in eight birdies during a 7-under-par 65 to take the first-round lead at the inaugural Galleri Classic on Friday in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Five of Toms' birdies came on the back nine at Mission Hills Country Club, including one at the par-5 18th, which let him own a one-stroke lead over Kevin Sutherland (66) through one round.
"You feel good over the putter, setup feels good with it, speed's really nice right now," Toms said, "and as long as you pay attention where the grain is, a lot of times when you're on these overseeded Bermuda greens, if you're not paying attention, you can mess up your speed. Did a good job of hanging in there with the speed today and really concentrating on my lines and worked out well for me."
Toms won earlier this month at the Cologuard Classic in Tucson, Ariz. for his third career Champions title. He finished tied for 15th at last week's Hoag Classic.
Sutherland fired a bogey-free round with six birdies, three on each nine. He said he is playing through back pain and was headed to get treatment.
"No, the back has been bothering me and unfortunately it started bothering me yesterday afternoon," Sutherland said. "It was playable, but I want to get through 54 holes this week and that's the goal right now."
Sutherland owns five Champions titles, but none since February 2021.
Six players are tied for third at 5-under 67: Rocco Mediate, Brett Quigley, Irishman Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh of Fiji and Australians Rod Pampling and Richard Green. Of those six, only Quigley signed a bogey-free card. Harrington converted an eagle at the par-5 11th.
Germany's Bernhard Langer, who is one win away from breaking the tour's all-time record for victories, opened with a 3-under 69 and is tied for 14th.
Mission Hills is on the Champions Tour's schedule for the first time after hosting an LPGA major once known as the Dinah Shore, now the Chevron Championship, from 1983 through 2022.
--Field Level Media