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  • Farmers Insurance Open, Round One

Champ Snedeker makes perfect start

ESPN staff
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Brandt Snedeker is joint-holder of the North Course record at Torrey Pines © Getty Images
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Farmers Insurance Open leaderboard

Defending champion Brandt Snedeker made the perfect start on his return to the Farmers Insurance Open, carding a seven-under par 65 to share the lead with KJ Choi after the first round at Torrey Pines.

Starting his round on the back nine of the North Course, the American shot four birdies in the space of five holes before the turn for an early share of the lead with Luke List, Brian Stuard, Charles Howell III and Tag Ridings, who produced a hole-in-one on the third.

Snedeker has fond memories of Torrey Pines, having tied the North Course record of 61 on his professional debut in 2007, and back-to-back birdies on the seventh and eighth took him clear of the chasing pack.

Choi, who also began on the back nine, enjoyed two blistering spells during a round featuring eight birdies, including four back-to-back from the 13th to the 16th. Three birdies in his final four holes drew him level with Snedeker; had it not been for a bogey at the 17th, the South Korean might have held the overnight lead outright.

Howell and List stayed in touch on six under, joined by England's Ross Fisher, Adam Hadwin of Canada and fellow Americans Josh Teater and Billy Horschel. Mike Weir also moved within one of the leaders late on.

An eagle at the par-five sixth courtesy of a holed bunker shot helped Tiger Woods recover from a double-bogey two holes earlier, as the man chasing an eighth career win at Torrey Pines reached six under midway through the back nine, only for bogeys at the 15th and 17th to halt his charge as he carded a four-under 68.

Phil Mickelson, making the headlines for all the wrong reasons earlier in the week, failed to make an impression on the leaders in an even-par round. Billy Mayfair, called in for Masters champion Bubba Watson who withdrew with flu, carded a two-over round of 74.

Rickie Fowler endured one of the worst rounds of his professional career, producing six bogeys and double-bogey to finish in a tie for last with a five-over 77.

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