June 11 (UPI) -- Harold Varner III and England's Justin Rose are tied atop the leaderboard after Thursday's opening round of the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Golf Course in Fort Worth, Texas, as golfers returned to action amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Varner and Rose each carded a 7-under 63 for the round, with Justin Thomas among those a stroke back. Rose started the day with three straight birdies and recorded four more on the back nine, while Varner equaled Rose's score on No. 18 with his seventh birdie.
Rose, who won at Colonial two years ago, is seeking his first PGA Tour victory of the season. Varner has yet to win a Tour event since turning pro in 2012.
Golf became the second major sport in the United States -- behind motorsports -- to resume its season after a 91-day shutdown because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Before play began, golfers, caddies and other essential personnel were required to be tested for the virus, with all 487 tests coming back negative.
"It kind of feels like a competitive practice round," Rose said after the first round, which took place without fans in attendance. "But obviously, I think we all know what's on the line. We all know what we're playing for. We all know the competition this week. Obviously, we miss the fans. They definitely provide a ton of energy and atmosphere."
Tom Lehman, a 61-year-old former champion at Colonial, shot a 5-under 65 to sit two strokes behind the leaders. Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau and Xander Schauffele also carded a 5-under 65 for the round.
Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka -- the top three players in the world -- played in the same group and had mixed results on the first day of competition. McIlroy sank three birdies on the front nine but recorded a bogey on the sixth hole to finish 2-under par.
Koepka also sat at 2-under par after recording four birdies and two bogeys. Rahm was 1-under par with three birdies and two bogeys, including one on No. 18.
The PGA Tour honored George Floyd and calls for racial equality by leaving the 8:46 a.m. CDT tee time open Thursday. The 8 minutes and 46 seconds represents the length of time that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck, resulting in the 46-year-old black man's death last month.
Players then paused for a one-minute moment of silence, which was followed by three horn blasts. Most golfers removed their caps and bowed their heads.
The Tour plans to leave the 8:46 a.m. CDT tee time open throughout the four-day tournament and during this week's Korn Ferry Challenge at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.