SAN ANTONIO — You can't blame Stephen Ames for wanting to forget about the sixth hole at La Cantera Golf Club.
After hitting the ball over the green, he three-putted for a double bogey that threatened to derail his day.
Fortunately for Ames, he got back on track immediately with three consecutive birdies to shoot an eight-under-par 64 Thursday for a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Texas Open.
"I hit the ball really good, hit it close a lot of times. The putts are coming off more solid," Ames said. "We'll see if it works for the next three days. Three more 64s would be nice."
Rich Beem and Charles Raulerson were one stroke back at 65, and Brent Geiberger, Sandy Lyle and Perry Moss shot 66s. Six players were one more stroke back at 67.
Hal Sutton, last year's champion, is not playing the Texas Open because he is competing in the Ryder Cup at Brookline, Mass. Bob Estes, the first alternate for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, shot a one-under 71 at San Antonio.
Ames played the back nine first and began with a bogey on the par-five No. 10, where he three-putted from 12 feet. He followed with four consecutive birdies to move to four under at the turn.
On the par-three No. 6, Ames' good day momentarily turned bad.
"We'll just take the sixth hole out all together," he said with a laugh. "I made a good recovery. I had it at, like, 20 feet, then three-putted."
Ames birdied each of the last three holes and sank his longest putt of the day--a 30-footer--on the par-four eighth.
Ames, a native of Trinidad who lives in Canada, had to sit out some tournaments early in the year because of visa problems. He is 125th on the PGA Tour money list.
Leaders through Thursday's play (Complete scores, Page 15):
WESTIN TEXAS OPEN--Par 72
Stephen Ames: 32-32--64, -8
Rich Beem: 35-30--65, -7
Charles Raulerson: 34-31--65, -7
Brent Geiberger: 33-33--66, -6
Sandy Lyle: 33-33--66, -6
Perry Moss: 34-32--66, -6