Grant Thornton ambassadors Tony Finau and Nelly Korda birdied the final hole to take a one-stroke lead at 16-under at the inaugural event in Florida. They notched 14 birdies and an eagle at the par-5 17th.
“It was fantastic,” said Finau. “We had a lot of fun and hit a lot of great shots. I watched a lot of great shots, a lot of great putts.”
The Grant Thornton Invitational is a first-year PGA TOUR Challenge Season event (unofficial) and the first mixed-team co-sanctioned event between the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour since John Daly and Laura Davies won the final JCPenney Classic in 1999.
Lucas Glover and Leona Maguire posted 13 birdies, including 10 consecutive birdies to start the round, and an eagle at the par-4 13th hole for a share of second place at 15-under alongside Denny McCarthy and Megan Khang.
Sahith Theegala and Rose Zhang also made 10 straight birdies (Nos. 8 through 17) and are tied in fourth place at 14-under with Nick Taylor and Ruoning Yin, Jason Day and Lydia Ko as well as Justin Rose and Charley Hull.
Teams will play foursomes on Saturday and fourballs on Sunday.