Three share lead at Southern Farm Bureau Classic
Share This Story
Huston bogeyed his first hole but he recovered with back-to-back birdies starting at the par-four third. He then hit a four-wood to five feet for an eagle at the par-five seventh and added a birdie at the ninth to make the turn at minus-four.
"The eagle on No. 7 got me going," said Huston, a six-time winner on the PGA Tour.
The 42-year-old birdied the 10th but found trouble with a bogey at the 12th. He got that shot back with a birdie at the 13th but stumbled again with a bogey at the very next hole.
Huston made a late charge and birdied each of his last two holes to join Franco and Tanaka in the lead.
"Overall I'm happy with the way I played," said Huston. "Even with three bogeys."
Franco, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, picked up his first birdie of the day at the par-four fourth. He knocked his third shot from the sand at the par-five fifth within inches of the hole for another birdie and chipped his third shot to eight feet for a birdie at the par-five seventh to make the turn at three-under.
"Early putts for par on No. 1 and No. 2 gave me confidence," said Franco. "They kept me very patient."
The native of Paraguay dropped his second inside a foot for a birdie at the 10th and ran home a 10-footer for a birdie at the par-four 16th.
At the par-five 18th, Franco hit a two-iron to 15 feet and two-putted for a closing birdie.
"I enjoy playing here," said Franco. "I had a couple chances for birdie. My putter was good today."
Tanaka stumbled out of the gate with a bogey at the first but he responded with birdies on each of his next two holes.
He landed his approach inside 10 feet for an eagle at the par-five fifth and followed that up with three consecutive birdies to go out in 30.
The 32-year-old from Japan ran home a 20-foot putt for a birdie at the 10th to move to seven-under before cooling off down the stretch. Tanaka dropped a shot with a bogey at the 14th but countered with a birdie at the 15th.
Tanaka faltered again, however, with a bogey at the 16th to share the first- round lead with Franco.
Luke Donald, who earned his first career victory at this event last year when the tournament was cut to 54 holes due to weather, finished in a group at three-under-par 69 that featured Presidents Cup player Tim Clark and Corey Pavin.