Peter Malnati carded an 8-under-par 63 on Thursday to seize a one-stroke lead in the Bermuda Championship in Southampton.
Malnati highlighted his nine-birdie performance with a string of five in a row on Nos. 9-13 at Port Royal Golf Course. The 33-year-old then answered his lone bogey of the day on No. 17 with a birdie on No. 18 to seize a one-shot lead over Doug Ghim.
In his last six rounds on the PGA Tour, Malnati has shot two 63s and a 62, along with a pair of 66s (and a 71), as he shoots for his third consecutive top-five finish.
The Bermuda tournament is the first to allow fans since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Malnati's said his performance was even more special since his wife and 1-year-old son, Hatcher, were in attendance Thursday.
"It's the first time Hatcher's actually been on a golf course since The Players Championship (in March). It was really awesome to see him," Malnati said.
A maximum of 500 fans are allowed to attend daily.
Ghim recorded seven birdies without a bogey to notch his lowest score on the PGA Tour since a first-round 63 at the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open.
"It was nice to get away and try to realize that I had a great opportunity to be here on Tour, and not put too much pressure on myself," Ghim said. "I knew that if I could just play the way that I know how to play, without comparing myself to anyone else, I'll be fine."
Armour, who also posted a bogey-free round, is seeking his second career PGA Tour victory and first since the 2017 Sanderson Farms Championship.
Doc Redman benefited from an eagle on the 15th hole to join Vaughn Taylor and Chase Seiffert in a tie at 6-under.
Hunter Mahan is part of an eight-player group tied at 5-under. He is seeking his seventh career PGA Tour title and first since the 2014 Northern Trust.
Fred Funk, who was making his 650th career PGA Tour start, opened with a 2-under 69. The 64-year-old was playing in the same group with his son, Taylor, who shot a 73.
Defending champion Brendon Todd shot an even-par 71 to reside in a tie for 80th place. He is seeking to become the first player to successfully defend a title on the PGA Tour since Brooks Koepka at the 2019 PGA Championship.
--Field Level Media