Rookie Davis Thompson holds a two-stroke lead over five golfers, including pre-tournament favorite Jon Rahm, entering Friday’s second round of The American Express PGA tournament.
Thompson will play at the Nicklaus Tournament Course after shooting a bogey-free 10-under-par 62 at the La Quinta Country Club Thursday, including eagles on the fifth and sixth holes, the first player to eagle consecutive holes on the PGA Tour since Shane Lowry in the third round of the 2022 Open Championship.
Thompson birdied three of the first four holes en route to becoming the first player to play the first six holes of a round on the PGA Tour in 7-under (or better) since Robert Streb in the first round of the 2021 CJ Cup at Summit.
“Just got off to a hot start and just kind of coasted on my way in,” said Thompson, who also birdied the ninth, 13th and 18th holes.
Thompson played the Nicklaus Tournament Course earlier this month en route to the Sony Open in Hawaii, where he tied for 54th.
“I’m still trying to learn where everything is at every course,” said Thompson, who best finish in his previous 19 starts on the PGA Tour is tying for ninth in the season-opening Fortinet Championship in September. “I never played the majority of these, so just trying to learn and try to figure out a good game plan for each week.”
This is the second time Thompson has held at least a share of an 18-hole lead on the PGA Tour. The other was in the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic which he finished tying for 58th.
Thompson was the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking in November 2020 and March 2021, a two-time first-team All-American at the University of Georgia and the 2020-21 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year.
Thompson earned his PGA Tour card by finishing 16th on the season-long Korn Ferry Tour Eligibility Points List with four top-10 finishes, including winning the REX Hospital Open on his 23rd birthday, June 5.
Rahm will also play at the Nicklaus Tournament Course Friday after shooting an 8-under-par 64 at the La Quinta Country Club, in what he called “a great start to the tournament,” a “solid round of golf” with “great putting out there.”
“Hopefully I can keep that going the whole week and feel a little bit better tee to green,” Rahm said after birdieing five of the first six holes, including the first two, along with the 11th through 13th holes and 17th and bogeying the par-4 10th.
Rahm, who is fourth on the Official World Golf Ranking, was the 6-1 pre-tournament favorite according to BetMGM, an official betting operator of the PGA Tour. The odds for the Spaniard have lowered to 5-2 entering the second round.
Rahm was the tournament champion in 2018, when it was known as CareerBuilder Challenge. He is making his first start since winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which concluded Jan. 8 in Kapalua, Hawaii.
Americans Tyler Duncan, Taylor Montgomery and Sam Burns are also tied for second along with Germany Matti Schmid. Nine golfers are tied for seventh, three strokes off the lead including Xander Schauffele, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour and the gold medalist at the delayed 2020 Olympics.
Scottie Scheffler, second in the Official World Golf Ranking, will also play at the Nicklaus Tournament Course Friday after shooting a bogey-free 4-under-par 68 at the La Quinta Country Club. He is among 22 golfers tied for 42nd, six strokes off the lead, along with Rickie Fowler, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour who was born and raised in Murrieta, and Brendan Steele, a Hemet High School and UC Riverside alumnus who has three tour victories.
The tournament’s concert series begins following the conclusion of play Friday with a concert by Grammy-winning pop singer Gwen Stefani on the PGA West Stadium Course driving range.
Grammy-winning singer Darius Rucker will perform a concert at the same site following conclusion of play Saturday.
All Friday and Saturday tournament tickets include admission to the concerts. There are no concert-only tickets.
The concert area on the Stadium Course driving range will open to spectators at 4 p.m., with the concerts expected to start at approximately 5:30 p.m.