Humble, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Scott Piercy fired a 9-under 63 in Thursday's opening round of the Houston Open and grabbed a 2-stroke lead in the process.
Piercy matched the course record. Adam Scott and Johnson Wagner first shot 63 on the Tournament Course at the Golf Club of Houston in 2008. Jimmy Walker and Phil Mickelson matched that score in 2011.
While looking to win for the third time on the PGA Tour, Piercy is also looking to grab the final spot in the Masters next week. The winner of this event, if not already qualified, will earn that final spot.
J.B. Holmes and Alex Cejka opened with 7-under 65s and share second place.
Mickelson, the 2011 winner, carded a 66 and was joined in fourth by Charles Howell III, Shawn Stefani and Luke Guthrie.
Last year's runner-up Matt Kuchar, 2012 champion Hunter Mahan and Sergio Garcia headline a group of seven players tied for eighth at minus-5.
Piercy opened his round with a 13-foot birdie effort on the 10th. After a pair of pars, he got up and down for birdie at the par-5 13th.
The two-time PGA Tour winner made the turn at minus-3 after draining a 7- footer for birdie at No. 18. That birdie kicked off a hot stretch of golf.
Piercy birdied the first from eight feet out, then stuffed his approach to tap-in range at the second. He ran home a 17-foot birdie try on No. 3 and finished a run of five consecutive birdies with a 6-foot putt at the fourth.
After a par on the fifth, Piercy made another 6-footer for birdie at the sixth. He capped his bogey-free round by pouring in a 31-foot birdie putt at the ninth.
"Hitting 17 green is great, but I hit it close probably 15 of them," Piercy said. "I rolled my putter well and that last one was a cherry on top, but there were a couple early in the day that were kind of short that I missed. So it was a give and take. Overall, it was really solid."
Holmes, who has lost two 54-hole leads this year on the PGA Tour, also played the back nine first. He got off to a flying start as he holed out for eagle from 85 yards away on the 10th.
"I started off great. Actually pulled my tee shot a little bit, but had a good angle at the pin and hit the shot just how I wanted to and luckily it went in," said Holmes. "It was nice to start off the day with an eagle and it got my day rolling."
At the 12th, Holmes dropped his approach seven feet from the hole and rolled that in for birdie. He made it two in a row with a birdie on the 13th as he moved to 4-under through four holes.
Holmes followed a birdie at 17 with a kick-in birdie at 18 to make the turn at minus-6. He parred the first three holes around the turn before making birdie at the par-5 fourth.
The reigning Wells Fargo Championship winner moved within one of the lead with a 13-foot birdie putt at the fifth. However, Holmes missed the green with his approach at the sixth and that led to a bogey. He parred the final three to end two back.
Cejka parred three of his first four holes to go with a birdie at the 13th. He birdied the next par-5, the 15th, from nine feet out. Cejka rolled in an 18- footer for birdie at 16 and made it three in a row as he also birdied the 17th.
The German birdied the first and second, both from over 30 feet out, to move to 6-under. He stuffed his approach inside two feet at the par-5 fourth.
Cejka kicked that in for birdie and followed with three pars in a row. Like Holmes, Cejka got within one of the lead thanks to a birdie at the eighth. Cejka tripped to a bogey on the par-3 ninth after finding sand off the tee.
"It was a really good round. It was breezy this afternoon, so it was not that easy, but I hit good shots, I hit a lot of fairways and I hit a lot good drives that gave me a chance to attack the pins a little bit," Cejka stated. "And obviously, I made a couple of really nice long putts."
NOTES: Piercy's wins were at the 2011 Reno-Tahoe Open and the 2012 Canadian Open ... This is the third time Piercy has had the first-round lead on the PGA Tour ... Defending champion Matt Jones mixed four birdies and four bogeys in an opening 72, which left him tied for 88th.