Harold Varner III was all smiles when he stood on the 11th green and was asked about his two bogeys on Thursday in the first round of the Shell Houston Open at Riviera Country Club.

Two bogeys aren't that bad if you have two other rounds of 27-under 261. Varner shot 260 and has a two-shot lead over Justin Thomas and Will Wilcox going into Friday's second round.

"That's the first round," he said. "Those are two bogeys. I think that's better than anyone on the leaderboard, even if I didn't have a good round."

He had a good round. He began with five birdies and three eagles in a six-hole stretch and never cooled off.

It was the old Harold Varner III who played Riviera so well in winning the Woodbridge Texas Open last year and in leading the The Northern Trust in September. For the most part, he made his putts. His bogeys came on the par-three 17th, and from the right rough on the par-five 18th.

But the guy is averaging 29 putts a round. Thursday was about mental toughness.

"The guy's been playing phenomenal," Kelly Kraft said after shooting 275. "I don't think he's going to miss a putt all day tomorrow. If he puts his mind to it, he's probably not going to miss one."

Well, first of all, the boy from Arizona isn't sure he's going to get home Saturday night. He and Thomas tee off at 7:06 a.m.