American Robert Gamez rounded the Avenel course with a sizzling five-under-par 66 to grab the first round lead.
Several days of rain left the course soggy even under bright sunshine Thursday. But Gamez charged to the top of the leader board despite the conditions.
Gamez said he played well despite getting little sleep after he fell short in a qualifying tournament for the U.S. Open next week. "It was tough to get out of bed. I did not get on the [practice] range here this morning until 7:40 for my 8:03 tee time. I mean I was just a little tired," he said.
PGA champion Rich Beem, the tournament winner in 1999 and runner-up last year, is just one shot off the pace as is Notah Begay the third.
Seven players are two shots back including Paul Lawrie of Scotland and Swedish player Niclas Fasth.
The FBR Capital Open is the last warmup for the U.S. Open next week. But several name players like Tiger Woods, former U.S. Open winner Ernie Els of South Africa, Masters champion Mike Weir of Canada and former Masters champion Vijay Singh of Fiji are skipping the event ahead of the U.S. Open.