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PGA Tour Polished Michael Putnam edges ahead at the Humana Challenge in La Quinta

Michael Putnam was thrilled with his finishing ability, as he claimed a one-shot lead at the Humana Challenge in California.

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Seven birdies on the back nine saw Michael Putnam claim a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Humana Challenge on Thursday.

Putnam carded 10 birdies in his nine-under 63 with his only blemish coming on the sixth hole, as he finished the opening round just ahead of five players at eight under.

Italy's Francisco Molinari, plus American quartet Mark Wilson, Blake Adams, John Peterson and Scott Pinckney claimed a share of second place, but it was Putnam who shone in La Quinta, California, the 31-year-old claiming everything he tried worked on his run home to the clubhouse.

"I made a lot of birdies at the end," he is quoted as saying on the PGA Tour's official website.

"[I] hit a lot of close shots, a lot of five, 10-foot putts. I made them all, so I got to be happy about that."

Putnam birdied the 10th hole to move to three under on Thursday and followed that with six straight birdies from the 12th on the PGA West Nicklaus Course.

The Humana Challenge involves three courses across two golf clubs - the Nicklaus and Palmer courses from PGA West, and La Quinta Country Club's course - with competitors playing one each day, before a cut is made after the third round.

Putnam was one of four golfers in the top 11 to play the Nicklaus Course, along with Wilson, Peterson and Jason Kokrak.

The other two courses had three players each in the top 11.

Kokrak, Matt Kuchar, defending champion Patrick Reed and Steve Wheatcroft finished tied for seventh on seven under.

Adams missed the chance to share the lead with Putnam as he bogeyed his final hole on the Palmer course.

The 39-year-old American started on the back nine of the Palmer course and notched birdies from the 14th to 18th holes to set up his round.

Another four birdies followed but Adams dropped a shot on the par-four ninth to post a 64.

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