Jordan Smith made seven birdies on his back nine to shoot an 8-under 62 and take a two-shot lead after the first round of the World Invitational.
Smith birdied his opening hole and followed it with eight pars before his run of birdies. Germany’s Matthias Schmid and Scotland’s David Drysdale were tied for second.
“Just everything came together really,” Smith said. I’ve been struggling with my iron play recently, but that and my wedge game and my putting were really, really good today. I’m not going to lie.”
The World Invitational, which is sanctioned by the European Tour, LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour, sees men’s and women’s tournaments taking place simultaneously.
Players will complete 18 holes at Galgorm Castle and 18 at Massereene Golf Club before a halfway cut is made in each tournament, with a further cut after 54 holes to the top 30 players and ties.
In the women’s event, Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh carded a 7-under 66 to share the lead with American Jennifer Kupcho and South Korea’s Chella Choi. England’s Charley Hull and Georgia Hall were two shots off the pace.