Wesley Bryan shoots 9-under 63 for Corales Puntacana lead

Wesley Bryan fired a 9-under 63 to storm out to the lead at the Corales Puntacana Championship on Thursday in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Bryan had an eagle, eight birdies and just one bogey on his card at Puntacana Resort & Club to establish a three-shot lead on the field.

The 34-year-old with one PGA Tour victory has had only one top-10 finish since 2017 — and that came at last year’s Puerto Rico Open, which like the Corales Puntacana Championship is an alternate event while the sport’s elite are playing a signature event elsewhere.

“Looking at what we get to look at here, it makes us like appreciate just how amazing our job is whether you shoot 63, 73, 83,” Bryan said. “Coming to a place like this, it’s beautiful, and getting to play golf … it’s an opposite-field event, but still having the opportunity to come out here and do what we love and do it on a venue like this, it’s pretty special.”

Bryan chipped in for eagle at the par-5 fourth hole and made another chip-in for birdie at the par-3 17th. A birdie putt at No. 18 capped off his stellar round.

“Those were fun moments,” he said. “… It’s nice just seeing the ball go straight off the tee, a few putts go in, a few chips go in, it’s a good day.”

Five players were tied for second at 6-under 66: Charley Hoffman, Troy Merritt, Chan Kim, Justin Lower and Parker Coody.

Hoffman, a 47-year-old tour vet who last won in 2016, finished a bogey-free round with three straight birdies at Nos. 7-9.

“I obviously got off to a good start this year, struggled a little bit,” Hoffman said. “I didn’t struggle, just missed a couple cuts by a few shots, and I know how important it is. I mean, late in my career every event means a ton and obviously trying to get a ‘W’ is the most important thing this week, and then obviously put myself in position for the playoffs.”

Coody’s twin brother, Pierceson Coody, is in a large tie for seventh at 5-under 67, as is Billy Horschel.