Stanley grabs two-shot lead in Puerto Rico Open

American Kyle Stanley has a two-shot lead after the first round of the US PGA Tour Puerto Rico Open (AFP Photo/Kevin C. Cox)

Miami (AFP) - Kyle Stanley, looking for his first PGA Tour title since 2017, fired an eight-under par 64 on Thursday to take a two-shot first-round lead in the Puerto Rico Open.

Stanley posted a career-high nine birdies, hitting all 18 greens in regulation and dropping his only shot of the day at the eighth.

He birdied the first three holes -- and four of the first five -- on the par-72 Coco Beach Golf and Country Cub course.

He added another four birdies in a row from the ninth through the 12th and picked up one last birdie at 15.

It was a welcome turnaround for Stanley, winner of the 2012 Phoenix Open and 2017 Quicken Loans National who has made just four cuts in 11 starts so far in the 2019-2020 season.

A victory in Puerto Rico -- a tournament played opposite the elite World Golf Championships Mexico Championship -- would see him secure his US PGA Tour card for another two seasons.

Half a dozen players shared second on 66: Argentina's Emiliano Grillo, Sweden's Henrik Norlander, Australian Rhein Gibson and Americans Josh Teater and Peter Uihlein.