Bogota, Colombia – Danny Lee fired a 7-under 64 on Thursday to grab a 1-stroke lead after the opening round of the Colombia Championship.
Lee, who missed the cut at last week's season-opening Panama Claro Championship, recovered from an early bogey to card eight birdies at the Country Club of Bogota's Fundadores Course.
"I was using more of a blade putter (last week) and this one is more face- balanced and it's really easy to aim," said Lee. "I'm always having trouble aiming when I start to putt bad. This new one I don't even have to try to aim it right because it's so easy."
Sam Saunders and Shane Bertsch are both a shot back after opening-round 65's, while lefty Edward Loar, Steve Wheatcroft, Ron Whittaker and Alexandre Rocha are 5-under through 18 holes.
Alex Aragon, Joseph Bramlett, Patrick Cantlay, B.J. Staten, D.J. Brigman, Jordan Spieth and Oscar Serna are tied for eighth at 4-under 67 and Mathew Goggin is one of 12 players knotted at minus-3. Goggin is coming off a runner- up finish in Panama.
Kevin Foley, who rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at the final hole last week to edge Goggin by a single stroke, shot 70 on Thursday.
Defending champion Skip Kendall carded four bogeys against just two birdies and ended 18 holes at 2-over. The veteran is looking to become the first player in Web.com Tour history to successfully defend his title.
Lee, meanwhile, is hoping to regain full time status on the PGA Tour after an underwhelming rookie campaign in 2012.
Brushing off last week's cut and Thursday's early bogey on the par-4 second, the 22-year-old Lee rebounded with a birdie on the fourth and continued to improve as his round advanced.
Starting at No. 8, Lee picked up four straight birdies around the turn, and after a stretch of pars, he closed with a trio of birdies to hit the clubhouse with the early lead.
"Today I did a really good job of not getting ahead of myself. I really tried to keep pressing," Lee continued. "At 8-under, I knew I had a par-5 left and honestly I was trying to get to 10 or 11. I was a little frustrated on the last couple holes."
Saunders eventually overtook Lee, but the American couldn't maintain the advantage. He began his round on the 10th and bookended his outward nine with a pair of eagles. He added birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 to make the turn at 6- under, and then supplanted Lee with another back-to-back birdie stretch beginning at the third.
Holding a 1-stroke lead, Saunders stumbled at No. 9 when he double bogeyed the 447-yard par-4 to fall into a share of second place.
NOTES: Lee tied for 13th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Hawaii in January ... The top 8 finishers from Panama are in the field this week ... Last year, Kendall sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole to earn a 1-shot win over Andres Gonzales and Andrew Svoboda. Kendall shot rounds of 70-67-66-71 and finished at 10-under-par 274 ... The Web.com Tour concludes its three-week stay in South America next week with the Chile Classic, where Paul Haley II captured the 2012 title.