While Tiger Woods withdrew because of back problems, De Jonge was busy firing and made seven birdies to close out the day three shots behind leader Nicholas Thompson.
The Zimbabwean got off to a hot start when he birdied his first three holes and that set the tone for an impressive day on Torrey Pines North Course. He capped off the round with a birdie at the 18th to sign for five-under-par 67.
Chasing from afar was Tyrone van Aswegen, who shot a respectable 70 to share 29th place. The Web.com Tour graduate is not the longest driver of the ball, but he makes 77,78% of greens in regulation, which is how he stands up to the likes of big-hitting Bubba Watson.
On Thursday Van Aswegen carded 35 on either nine to keep his chances afloat, but a good result requires four consistent rounds from the 32-year-old.
De Jonge, on the other hand, will be looking to improve on his scoring and contend for the title. He has knocked on the door for the last two years and will have set himself the 2015 goal of getting a PGA Tour title.
One of the hot favourites for the week is Brooks Koepka, who won his maiden title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open last week. He is playing hot golf at the moment and shot 66 to tie for third at the end of day one.
Also in the mix were Jhonattan Vegas and Freddie Jacobson, while Americans Chad Campbell and Chris Kirk joined De Jonge in a share of fifth.
There are 54 holes to go and the Zimbabwean must bring that scoopy swing to action in order to capitalise on his good start in California.