GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Brent Geiberger, John Rollins and Nick Watney shot 8-under 64s on Thursday to share the first-round lead in the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro.

John Senden, Robert Gamez, Mike Sposa, Tag Ridings, James Driscoll and Charley Hoffman were two strokes back, and defending champion K.J. Choi opened with a 65.

Scores were low all day at the 7,333-yard Forest Oaks Country Club, where 68 players finished the first round at 3 under or better.

Geiberger birdied eight of his final 12 holes in another strong performance at Forest Oaks, the site of his most recent victory on the PGA Tour.

He came to Greensboro in 2004 needing a strong performance to finish the season in the top 125 on the money list and secure his full tour card. He wound up winning with an 18-under 270 total, two strokes ahead of Michael Allen.

Geiberger entered this year’s tournament ranked 144th on the money list and finished the first day with his best opening-round score of the year.

“It’s very similar to where I was in ’04, but I feel with the equipment and the way I’m playing right now, I’d love to start out the year right now, because it’d be a completely different story,” Geiberger said.

The ’04 victory also made him and father Al the first father-son duo to win the same PGA Tour event. Al Geiberger won in 1976.

Rollins said he spent last weekend with a putting coach to help him rediscover his stroke. For the most part, the results showed.

He had nine birdies in his opening round, and could have had the lead to himself if he hadn’t run into trouble on the 17th hole.

Rollins’ tee shot on the par-3 hole soared past the green. He chipped onto the green, but left his 23-foot par putt an inch shy and then tapped in for his only bogey.

“I hit the ball well enough, but I don’t make enough putts that Phil (Mickelson) and Tiger (Woods) make week in and week out,” Rollins said.

Watney, a fourth-year pro chasing his first PGA Tour victory, had one bogey and nine birdies in matching his career low round. During one stretch, he had three consecutive birdies.

“When you see that you’re eight behind before you tee off, it’s a little bit daunting, but at the same time, you know that there’s some good scores out there,” Watney said.

Ridings was poised to join Geiberger, Rollins and Watney atop the leaderboard. He was at 8 under through 17 before he double-bogeyed the par-4 18th.

He failed to land his chip shot from 46 feet away on the green, instead placing it on the fringe 18 feet from the hole. Then, after finally chipping on the green, he two-putted.

AP-ES-10-05-06 1842EDT

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