Seamus Power was left rueing some late round ‘bad swings’ that took the shine off his maiden appearance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
Power was standing on the final tee having birdied three holes in succession from the 14th but then sent his near 300-yard drive in the ‘winner’s only’ event into a native area down the left side on the closing hole. The West Waterford man was forced to take a penalty drop on route to a bogey ‘6’ in a round of two-under-par 71 on the par-73 Plantation Course in bright but windy conditions on the island of Maui.
It left the Irishman trailing six shots behind Aussie Cameron Smith who produced a sizzling eight-under-par 65 that he capped with two eagles and five birdies. However, Smith’s round will not count in terms of career-low scores as a preferred lies rule is in effect given the amount of rain that has drenched the Hawaiian Islands in recent weeks.
Smith, who qualified for the event by sharing victory in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, had been one-over after a second hole bogey, as he now seeks a fourth PGA Tour career success.
Three players – World No. 1 Jon Rahm and the American duo of Patrick Cantlay and Daniel Berger – are next best with scores of 66. Reigning PGA Champion Phil Mickelson, contesting the event for a first time in 21-years, matched Power’s score in also signing for a 71.
Power was steady early on but made a total mess of the par-3 eighth hole when going left off the tee and finding high hay before taking a harmful double-bogey ‘5’.
He then birdied the 10th to get back into the red at one-under-par but dropped a shot on 12 before he great run from the par-4 14th where he holed a five-footer followed by a four-footer for birdie at 15 and then an 11-footer for birdie on 16 to get to three-under.
Despite the dropped shot that would follow at the last, however, Power admits he’s glad to have something to build on, not least given it’s his first competitive outing since tying fourth in the middle of November at the RSM Classic.
“I just had a couple of bad swings on the back and kind of misjudged the wind on the front which cost me, but it wasn’t bad considering I haven’t played a tournament round for a while,” said Power.
“It was quite an interesting day. I didn’t really feel rusty, to be honest. I did a lot of good practice during the break, but it’s different to just get back into your processes and routines on the course and overall, I made a couple of sloppy swings in the back and that kind of cost me.
“I don’t have a lot to compare it to because it is soft, but I am guessing just the way it is designed that it’s meant to play a lot firmer.
“We had to play with ball in hand today, which shows how soft it is, but the greens are in great condition and while there was a little breeze, it was nothing too bad, so it was very nice out there.
“So, it was not the start I was looking for today, but it’s something to build on over the next few days.”
Power is returning to competition after spending Christmas at his new base in Las Vegas and given the continuing worldwide Covid-19 travel restrictions, it did mean not traveling home to Ireland for the festive season.
Nevertheless, the start of a new season competing in Hawaii has the 34-year-old excited for the year ahead.
“It was disappointing not to be able to get home for Christmas, but that’s just the world we’re living in now,” he said.
“Every time you think of travelling, someone tests positive for Covid in the circle you’d be in, so I decided I didn’t want to risk the start of my season here, and I just ended up staying in Vegas.”
- Full scoring HERE