When the sun set on the first round at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions golf tournament at the Kapalua Plantation Golf Course on Friday afternoon, four players had a share of the first-round lead. Michael Thompson, Chris Kirk, Jordan Spieth, and Webb Simpson all fired seven under par 67’s and have a one-shot advantage over four players tied at six under par. Only two golfers were unable to break par in the soft conditions after the course received over an inch of rain on Thursday evening.
Of the four leaders, only 2013 PGA Rookie of the Year, Jordan Spieth was able to get around the par 73 layout on the North Shore of Maui without putting a bogey on his card.
The 20 year-old phenom from the Dallas area started out slow in his first appearance at the TOC, but was able to put a nice run of birdies together on the back nine.
“It’s a course that I shouldn’t make a lot of bogeys on if you keep the ball in play and just think your way around the course,” Spieth said. “Ultimately, I did some good preparation and did a lot of hard work the last two or three weeks getting ready for today, and now just happy to be in good position after the first round.”
Defending champion, Dustin Johnson, who was playing along side of Masters Champ, Adam Scott were in the final group, and shot matching three under pars 70’s on a day that saw a shift in normal wind conditions. Johnson won the 2013 tournament in wind conditions that forced a 54 hole Tuesday finish.
Johnson didn’t play poorly, he just couldn’t get his putter working on some of the largest greens on the tour. He continued his dominance off the tee, and was ranked first with an average of over 323 yards, but was unable to make many putts.
PGA Champion, Jason Dufner got off to a hot start, shooting 30 on the front nine, but was only able to manage par golf down the stretch. He put an eagle on the par five fifth hole, and with four birdies on his card, made the turn at 30. He shot even par on the back, and ended the day in the group one stroke back at six under par.
Dufner shares second place with Ryan Moore, and Kevin Streelman, and Zach Johnson. Moore and Streelman got off to good starts on Friday, but ran into trouble along the way.
Streelman, the Tampa Bay Champion, made a pair of eagles on the front nine and had sole possession of the lead at the 14th hole. Bogeys at 17 and 18 dropped him out of lead and into a tie for second place.
BMW Champion, Zach Johnson had an up and down opening round, but showed us some of the short-game magic that beat Tiger Woods at the Northwestern Mutual last month. The 2007 Masters Champion is showing signs of having a good 2014 season. Zach picked up an eagle at the 9th hole, and with the help of four birdies down the stretch got to the clubhouse with a share of second place.
The conditions on Maui are expected to remain damp, and slow for Saturday, but the wind is expected to shift into the normal direction for the Sunday, Monday finish with lavish sunshine. The field will be re-ordered daily, and should provide a wild finish on Monday afternoon.
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