Straka shoots 63 to lead Safeway Open

Sepp Straka was flawless on Thursday, the unheralded Austrian golfer carding a nine-under-par 63 in Napa, California.

Austrian golfer Sepp Straka   -  Getty Images

PGA Tour debutant Sepp Straka produced a bogey-free day to earn a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Safeway Open.

Straka was flawless in his first start on Thursday, the unheralded Austrian golfer carding a nine-under-par 63 in Napa, California.

The 25-year-old holed nine birdies, hit nine of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation to top the leaderboard at the Silverado Country Club. Chase Wright posted a 64 to be a shot off the pace, with American star Phil Mickelson lurking at seven-under.

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Mickelson was part of the United States' Ryder Cup defeat to Team Europe in Paris, but the veteran returned to the golf course and registered a 65 to be third, which included a run of six successive birdies.

"I was surprised at some of the shots I hit. I honestly have been hitting it just terrible, and today was just an anomaly. Don't let the good round fool you; I'm not at my best. But today, a few things clicked and it was fun," Mickelson said.

Brandt Snedeker's 66 saw him in an eight-way tie for fourth position at the PGA Tour tournament. Meanwhile, two-time defending champion Brendon Steele's bid for a three-peat started with a five-under-par 67.