Spain's Jon Rahm shot an 8-under-par 62 on Thursday to build a three-shot lead after the first round of the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis, Tenn.
After hosting a regular PGA Tour stop for 30 years, the St. Jude became a WGC event in 2019, taking the spot of the tournament formerly held at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
Rahm never laid eyes on TPC Southwind until Wednesday, but he had no trouble making his way around the course Thursday. Coming off a tie for 11th at the British Open, the world's eighth-ranked player began his round on the back nine by birdieing three of his first nine holes.
Rahm added two birdies to begin his back nine and reeled off three more on Nos. 6-8 for a total of eight on his bogey-free card. He made more than 140 feet in putts for the round.
"It just felt good," he told the Golf Channel of his feel for the greens. "Once you come into a tournament and you hit a few putts, it's just for the most part you're back here. To me, it's always easier to adjust to quick greens than going to slow greens."
Rahm will begin Friday with a three-shot cushion over a group of five players at 5 under: Patrick Cantlay, Bubba Watson, Australia's Cameron Smith and Japan's Shugo Imahira and Hideki Matsuyama.
It was a welcome bounce-back for Watson, who tied for 51st at the British Open to go with three missed cuts in his first six events after the Masters -- including the U.S. Open and PGA Championship. He hasn't finished higher than 34th since sharing 12th place at Augusta.
Watson had seven birdies to offset a pair of bogeys Thursday.
Tiger Woods is not in the field.