- Associated Press - Friday, January 17, 2014

LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) - Robert Garrigus was smiling when he left La Quinta Country Club after the first round of the Humana Challenge.

Was it the perfect weather? The flawless course conditions? The knowledge that there’s plenty more chances to score?

Yes, yes and yes.

“Not too discouraged,” Garrigus said.

He had reason to be Thursday after a late two-hole meltdown that dropped him from the top of the leaderboard to a tie for 80th.

Garrigus birdied the par-5 fifth - his 14th hole - to reach 6-under, then blasted a 7-wood approach out-of-bounds en route to a double bogey on the par-5 sixth. He made a mess of the par-3 seventh, too, hitting into the water for another double bogey.

“I was playing really well and just gave it all away,” Garrigus said after signing for a 2-under 70 that left him seven strokes behind leader Patrick Reed.

Garrigus pointed out that he opened with a 73 two years ago and shot 64-61-68 to tie for second behind Mark Wilson.

“Those courses over there are a little easier,” Garrigus said.

Over there is PGA West, where he’ll play the Jack Nicklaus Private Course on Friday and Arnold Palmer Private Course on Saturday.

Reed ran off five straight birdies in the middle of his bogey-free round on the Palmer course and tied his career low with a 9-under 63.

“The course is in perfect shape,” said Reed, the Wyndham Championship winner in August. “The rough isn’t very high, the fairways are perfect and the greens are rolling very true.”

Reed started on the back nine and birdied Nos. 16-18 and 1-2 to get to 7-under. He added birdies on Nos. 6 and 7.

“I started out a little struggling with the driver, had some lefts in it, but luckily I missed it in the right spots,” Reed said. “I was really confident with my irons, kept hitting greens and all of a sudden, 10-, 12-, 15-, 20-foot putts started going in.”

With wife Justine pregnant with their first child, her brother, Kessler Karain, is subbing as Reed’s caddie. Justine has walked every hole with her husband this year and plans to rejoin him inside the ropes after the baby girl arrives. The due date is Memorial Day.

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