Seamus Power finished strong in his first tournament back on the PGA Tour in 2018 as the Waterford man birdied two of his last five holes to card an opening two-under 68 in the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Power was among the late starters in Hawaii last night finished the day tied for 41st at Waialae Country Club.
The Waterford man hit just three fairways but scrambled well for carding just one bogey on his second hole where he pulled his tee shot into a hazard. Power will need a much better day off the tee if he is to get into position to challenge over the weekend as he lies five strokes behind leaders Chris Kirk and Zach Johnson.
Johnson and Kirk each made seven birdies and no drop shots to share the lead in the in Hawaii.
Jordan Spieth actually made eight birdies and for the second straight year walked away from Waialae Country Club amazed that he could be six shots behind.
A year ago, it was because Justin Thomas shot 59 playing in the same group.
Yesterday it was a one hole blow out. !
Spieth hit four trees with four shots on the par-4 eighth hole — his 17th of the opening round — starting with a tough break when his tee shot caromed off the trunk of a tree and down an 8-foot deep ditch that left him no good options. He wound up with a quadruple-bogey 8 A snowman In Hawaii, of all places and had to settle for a 69.
Johnson and Kirk kept clean cards playing on opposite sides of the draw and closed with different brands of birdies on the par-5 18th hole — Kirk two-putted from about 10 feet, while Johnson found a bunker, laid up and hit a wedge to five feet.
They were a shot ahead of Brian Harman, Vaughn Taylor, Kyle Stanley and PGA TOUR rookie Talor Gooch.
Thomas, who set the PGA TOUR scoring record for 72 holes in his wire-to-wire victory last year, opened with a 67 and was all smiles at the end.
More than half of the field — 77 players — broke par in the mild trade wind and relentless sunshine down the road from Waikiki Beach.
Kirk had only one top 10 last year — his final event of the year in The RSM Classic at Sea Island — and nearly two months off didn’t appear to hold him back.
“I’ve probably been off long enough now that you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “I really had no expectations whether I was going to play good or bad after having some time off. But this is a golf course that I’ve traditionally done pretty well on, and a place that I really love. So you always feel like it’s possible.”
Dry weather, a fast course and the trade winds allowed a rarity for Johnson, who hit wedge into the green on the 480-yard opening hole. That was the first of three straight birdies, and he had ample more opportunities, including a shot that hit the pin on No. 10 and settled three feet away. He missed that, though the two-time major champion wasn’t too discouraged. He picked up an unlikely birdie on the 13th from the fairway bunker by making a 25-foot putt, and he made a 20-foot birdie on the next hole.
“I Just kept the course in front of me and played solid golf,” Johnson said, winless since the 2015 Open Championship at St. Andrews. “Made a few putts, missed a few putts. But I’m very encouraged with the direction.”
Round 1 Highlights