PGA Tour rookie Prugh takes lead at La Quinta
Making only his third appearance on the highly competitive United States circuit, Prugh broke clear of a three-man logjam at the top when he birdied the par-four 17th at La Quinta Country Club, one of four venues hosting the event.
A solid par on the last hole gave Prugh a 21-under total of 195 and a one-stroke cushion over fellow Americans Bubba Watson (68) and rookie Martin Flores (65). First-round leader Watson played on the Palmer Private course at PGA West while Flores, the only player in the field without a bogey this week, toured the more difficult SilverRock Resort layout.
Prugh began a day of welcome sunshine in the California desert two shots behind the pacesetting Watson and maintained his title bid with an outward nine of four-under 32. The 25-year-old from Washington state then picked up further shots at the 11th, 13th and 17th to tighten his grip on the tournament. Left-hander Watson, seeking his first PGA Tour win after four full seasons on the circuit, made a slow start and was one over through eight holes after teeing off on the 10th.
He finally gained momentum, though, with four birdies in the next five holes helping him end the round just one off the lead.
“My play was not very good,” Watson told reporters after covering the back nine in four under. “The 68 was getting a lot out of my round today. I wanted to play better. Probably I should have been 71 or 72.”
However, Watson accepts there is still a long way to go in the 90-hole pro-am event.
“We got 36 holes left,” the 31-year-old said. “My expectations are, hopefully, I can make the cut tomorrow and I’ll be able to play the last day.”