CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- Hal Sutton tied a course record with an 8-under-par 64 Thursday for the lead after one round of the Honda Classic.
Rookie Eric Booker shot 65, Doug Barron was at 66, and Dicky Pride and Bradley Hughes shot 67. Nine golfers, including 1998 player of the year Mark O'Meara, were at 68.
Sutton became the fourth player to shoot 64 since the tournament moved to the TPC at Heron Bay two years ago. Craig Parry and Tommy Armour III set the course record in 1997 and John Daly tied it last year.
On a day with little wind and lots of sunshine, Sutton started fast with a 40-foot birdie putt at No. 2. He made four birdie putts of 10 to 15 feet, birdied two par-5s from bunkers and birdied his last three holes.
Last year Sutton had his best results on the PGA Tour since 1983, winning the Tour Championship, the Westin Texas Open and $1.8 million, fifth on the money list. There were more achievements in January: He finished fourth in the Phoenix Open and became the father of twin girls.
"This is without a doubt the happiest time of my life," Sutton, 40, said. "I look forward to getting up every day."
There was a time when Sutton wondered whether he would even make a leader board again. He went without a tournament title between 1986 and 1995.
Once acclaimed as the next Jack Nicklaus because he was a young blond prodigy, Sutton won the U.S. Amateur in 1980 and the PGA Championship in 1983, when he finished first on the money list. The native of Shreveport, La., won seven tournaments from 1982 to 1986 before his slump began.
"I'd like to lay it off on injuries, mostly injuries in the head," he said with a wink. "It was a lack of confidence and too many swing changes that weren't working."
In 1992, Sutton had no top 10 finishes and missed the cut in 21 of 29 tournaments.
"I didn't know if there could be a fairway wide enough for me at the time," he said.
"Many nights I went back to my room and felt like I was the only person on the planet that was having problems. Everybody wants to be your buddy when you're playing good, but boy, it gets pretty darn lonely when things aren't going good around here."
DIVOTS: Critics say Heron Bay is a bland course, and Barron struggled with the details when discussing his round of 66. "I can't remember all these holes," he said with a laugh. "They all look alike." ... Barron, Booker and Hughes are seeking their first tour victories. ... A week after the Doral-Ryder Open, which drew an unusually weak field, only six of the world's top 20 golfers are entered. ... Jesper Parnevik withdrew because of a fever. ... Payne Stewart, who shot 70, has finished second in the Honda four times. ... Defending champion Mark Calcavecchia shot 71.