O'Hern fires 62 to lead by 3 in California

Nick O'Hern fired a 9-under 62 on Thursday to grab a 3-stroke lead after the opening round of the Open.

O'Hern, who has missed the cut in five of his last seven PGA Tour starts, is looking for his first tour win. His last worldwide victory was in 2006 at the Australian PGA Championship.

Nicolas Colsaerts, who teamed with Lee Westwood to beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker at the Ryder Cup, carded a 6-under 65. He shares second place with Jhonattan Vegas and Derek Ernst at CordeValle Golf Club.

Greg Owen, who matched the 36-hole scoring record at this event in 2009, shot 66. He was joined at minus-5 by Charles Howell III, John Mallinger, Jonas Blixt and Gary Woodland.

O'Hern played the back nine first on Thursday and parred his first three holes. He got on the board with a tap-in birdie on the 13th. His third to the par-5 15th stopped five feet from the hole and he rolled that in for birdie.

The Australian sank another 5-footer at the 17th and came right back with a 36-footer for birdie at 18 to make the turn at 4-under.

O'Hern, a two-time Presidents Cup team member for the Internationals, made it two in a row with a kick-in birdie at the first. He drained a 21-foot birdie try at the third to grab a share of the lead.

At the fourth, O'Hern holed a birdie chip to move one clear of the field. He birdied the fifth to make it three in a row.

O'Hern had an outside shot at shooting 59 at that point, but he parred the next three holes. At the par-5 ninth, his last, O'Hern sank a 8-foot birdie putt to match the course scoring record.

"I started off having to make a few par putts, crucial ones, sort of 4-, 5- footers. Once I made those, it got me going. Then I made a few birdies on the front nine, which was my back nine," said O'Hern, who has made just 11 of 23 cuts this year on the PGA Tour.

"I turned at 4-under and thought, well, this is quite nice, and then all of a sudden I got on a bit of a birdie binge there. So chipped in and probably made one long putt. Other than that, I just hit the ball lovely all day and was able to hit it close."

Colsaerts, who is trying to earn enough money in the Fall Series to gain his PGA Tour card for next year, birdied four of the last six holes on the front nine to jump up the leaderboard.

After five straight pars to start his back nine, Colsaerts birdied the 15th and 18th to post 65.

"On 15, I could have gone for the green and decided not to because I wasn't really hitting the shots at that time. Got it up and down from 100 yards," Colsaerts said. "Then I hit a pretty good drive on 18 and only had like 110 yards to the pin and hit a good shot and holed the putt."

Vegas was the first to post 65. He flew out of the gate with four birdies in the first five holes. He cruised to eight straight pars from the sixth.

The Venezuelan traded a birdie for a bogey from the 14th. Vegas carded back- to-back birdies from the 16th to shoot 65.

Ernst, the penultimate group off the first tee, birdied the second, but gave that right back as he bogeyed the third. He birdied the fifth and ninth to make the turn at minus-2.

After five pars in a row to start his back nine, Ernst birdied 15 and 17. At the last, he holed a 125-yard shot for eagle to grab a share of second place.

NOTES: O'Hern tied for third at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, but his next-best finish is a share of 27th at the Farmers Insurance Open...Defending champion Bryce Molder carded an even-par 71 and is part of a large group tied for 50th. Among those he is tied with are Mike Weir, Ernie Els and Rory Sabbatini.