Thompson takes charge

KATELYN MULCAHY/agence france-presse Davis Thompson shows fine form in the first round of the American Express Tournament in La Quinta, California.

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — US PGA Tour rookie Davis Thompson bagged back-to-back eagles on the way to a two-shot lead on Thursday in the American Express Tournament at La Quinta, California.

Thompson, a 23-year-old graduate of the developmental Korn Ferry Tour, was seven-under through six holes, thanks to his eagles at the fifth and sixth on the La Quinta Country Club course, one of three in use for the event in the Southern California desert along with the Nicklaus Tournament course and the Stadium course.

His 10-under par total of 62 put him two clear of five players, a group led by fourth-ranked Spaniard Jon Rahm and including Americans Tyler Duncan, Taylor Montgomery and Sam Burns and German Matti Schmid.

Thompson already had three birdies under his belt when he eagled the par-five fifth.

He missed the green at the par-five sixth but chipped in for another eagle, becoming the first player to eagle consecutive holes in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event since Shane Lowry in the third round of last year’s Open Championship.

He added a birdie at the ninth to make the turn at eight-under.

The former top-ranked amateur said staying focused on each shot was his main task coming in.

“That was kind of like my biggest challenge today was staying present-minded and trying to put one foot in front of the other,” said Thompson, whose two birdies on the back nine included an exclamation point at the 18th.

“Your mind definitely starts to wander a little bit. But I played enough rounds to where I try to teach myself over and over you can’t get ahead of yourself.”

Thompson, who has made 19 starts on the PGA Tour as an amateur and a pro, said he still feels like a rookie — especially at a tournament that features three new courses to learn.

“You kind of have to play practice rounds pretty fast and kind of figure out what you want to do during the week,” he said.

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