Bae and Gonzales lead in California

Sang-Moon Bae and Andres Gonzales carded opening round scores of 66 for a share the lead at the Open in California.

The duo are one stroke clear of Martin Laird who is at five-under-par after a day which saw some of the favourites struggle to grips with the tricky Napa Valley course.

Ryder Cup stars Jimmy Walker and Matt Kuchar fall into that category as defending champion Walker returned to the clubhouse three-over-par while Kuchar was slightly more impressive with his round of 71.

Hunter Mahan managed to go two-under while Lee Westwood could only manage a one-over-par 73 as he struggled to find his feet.

This was, however, not the case for Gonzales who carded seven birdies in the opening round of the new PGA season.

To date he has just one top-10 finish to show for the 44 tournaments he has played in, although he has tasted success at the lower tier tour.

Gonzales insisted that he was more than ready to make the step-up.

“I’ve always felt that I’ve been good enough to be at this level, whether or not I’ve proven that each year,” he told Sky Sports.

“I’ve felt that each year I have improved each year.”

Korean star Bae birdied his last three holes to grab his share of the lead in the afternoon.

“I had a really, really good round, a pretty solid round, and I made a lot of putts and just one bogey today,” said the 2013 Byron Nelson Championship winner.