SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ., JAN. 24 -- Steve Jones carded a bogey-free, 8-under-par 63 today to take a one-shot lead over late-charging Curtis Strange before first-round play was suspended at the Phoenix Open.
Play was stopped because of darkness with 21 players still on the course. None were in contention for the lead.
The start of the $1 million tournament was delayed for one hour by morning frost on the 6,992-yard TPC course. Most of the top scores were posted by the early finishers in the 144-man field.
Jones started at 8:41 a.m. and had five of his eight birdies on the back nine.
Strange, who didn't tee off until 1:04 p.m., birdied the final three holes on the front nine and had two birdies on the back to go 7 under.
Sandy Lyle, the 1988 winner, was at 65 along with Bob Tway, Russ Cochran, Robert Wrenn, Nolan Henke, Gene Sauers and 1984 champ Tom Purtzer.
Davis Love III and Gil Morgan were at 66 with Kirk Triplett, Brad Fabel, Bruce Lietzke and amateur Phil Mickelson all at 67.
Mickelson, 20, a left-hander from Arizona State, won the Tucson Open two weeks ago.
Defending champion Tommy Armour III and 1987 champ Paul Azinger both shot 69s.
Jones, 32, a Phoenix resident who has four titles in his eight-year PGA career, birdied on 4, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14, 15 and 17. He was 5-under 31 on the back nine.
"I didn't have many chances to bogey," Jones said. "The second hole, I think I had a three-footer for par. That was my longest putt.
"I just kept the ball in play all day and hit it in the right areas. I didn't have a lot of downhill putts and I only missed one green. Seventeen greens, that's pretty unusual for me. I average about 13. I'm not sure if I ever had a better first round."
Jones won three tournaments in 1989, but his best finish last year was a second-place tie at the Heritage Classic in April. He missed the cut at the last two Phoenix Opens.
Sunday's winner earns $180,000.