Taking advantage of a rain-softened layout at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas, the 26-year-old American piled up 10 birdies, as well as an eagle at the par-five seventh, to grab an early three-shot lead in the PGA Tour event.
The winner in 2011 before going on to claim his first major title at the PGA Championship just three months later, Bradley covered his final nine holes in six-under 29 after storming home eagle-birdie-birdie.
Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa opened with a seven-birdie 63, while Americans Harris English and Ted Potter jnr and Swede Robert Karlsson carded 64s.
“Today I matched up unbelievable ball-striking with great putting, which is very rare,” Bradley told Golf Channel after hitting 15 of 18 greens in regulation and totalling only 24 putts on a course softened by overnight rain.
“You needed to go out this morning and shoot a good number if you could. I drove the ball great so I had the ball in my hand pretty much every hole. And I was hitting some really good iron shots. It felt really good. Just a really fun round,” added the American, who started his day at the par-four 10th.
Bradley tied the tournament record of 60 held jointly by Sam Snead (1957) and Arron Oberholser (2006), while improving on the course record of 61 shared by Cameron Beckman, Justin Leonard and Charlie Rymer. Asked whether he had entertained thoughts of shooting a magical 59, Bradley replied: “Not really, because I played my last three holes in four under.”