Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas leads the way at the Honda Classic after a bogey-free first round of six-under-par in testing conditions at the PGA National (Vegas 14/1 outright winner).

Vegas opened with a stunning 64 and had his putter to thank, sinking three birdies from 14-feet or more, including a 16-footer on the par three seventh.

The chasing pack has some big names in it though and Vegas will do well to keep them all at bay over the next 54 holes.

He is two strokes in front of a quartet of players on 66 that included three major champions in Ernie Els, Zach Johnson and Lucas Glover along with Canadian Ben Silverman.

World number four Brooks Koepka headed a group of 13 players on 67 that also included Spain’s Sergio Garcia, American Rickie Fowler, South African Charl Schwartzel and South Korean Lee Kyoung-hoon.

Defending champion Justin Thomas was in another big group on 68. The 25-year-old would become only the second man after Jack Nicklaus to defend the title if he were to win on Sunday (Thomas 5/1 outright winner).

“Every time I come around this place and don’t make a bogey it’s pretty good,” Vegas said.

“I was able to drive the ball really well today. I hit my irons incredibly well.

“I only missed three greens and out of those three I left two within 15 feet of the hole.”

South African Ernie Els was left to rue a double bogey on the 15th where he put his tee shot into the water.

“That freaking 15th hole is no good at all on this golf course,” he said.

Odds subject to change