Three-way tie at the top as Power trails by eight at Sony

Seamus Power waits with his caddie on the second tee during the first round of the Sony Open in Hawaii (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Seamus Power birdied his opening hole in Hawaii but that’s as good as it got for the West Waterford man after signing for an even par round of 70 on his first appearance of 2021 at the Sony Open.

The 33-year old made the field as a reserve after Jhonattan Vegas withdrew from the event with coronavirus, earning his first start of the year sooner than he would’ve expected as Power continues to recover from elbow surgery following his last appearance on a PGA Tour fairway in a top-40 finish at the Bermuda Championship in November.

After picking up that birdie at his opening hole – the tenth – the former Olympian dropped shots at 16 and 17 to make the turn at one-over. A disappointing three-putt from 25 feet saw him lose another shot to the field on his second – his eleventh – before Power found the heart of the green in two at the par-5 last, landing his eagle putt from 16-feet to return to even par.

That leaves him in a share of 99th heading into round two, trailing Joaquin Niemann,  Jason Kokrak and Peter Malnati who all returned eight-under par rounds of 62.

“It was a good way to finish,” Niemann said who also eagled the last. “Spent a few days thinking about that last hole, but taking all the positives from the week and pull it out for this week.”

Unlike Niemann, Kokrak went bogey-free and he was as pleased with a 15-foot par putt at the first – his tenth hole of the round – as any of his nine birdies. Malnati was the only one at 62 who played in the morning, though conditions were similar for much of the day.

In a six-way tie for 4th at six-under was a group that included Daniel Berger, Si Woo Kim and Aaron Baddeley. Swede Henrik Norlander was the best of the European starters on five-under with defending champion Cameron Smith off to a decent start at minus-three. Sergio Garcia and Russell Knox finished the opening day alongside Power at even par.

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