Maui Sports

Four Share First-Round Lead at Hyundai Tourney

January 4, 2014, 2:31 PM HST
* Updated January 4, 2:55 PM
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Jordan Spieth plays a shot on the 2nd hole during the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on Friday, Jan. 3. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.

Jordan Spieth plays a shot on the 2nd hole during the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on Friday, Jan. 3. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.

By Rodney S. Yap

Last year’s Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth played like a seasoned veteran Friday, closing out his opening round of the 2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions with a birdie putt on the 18th hole for a 7-under 66 and a share of the lead at The Plantation Course in Kapalua.

“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.”

Adam Scott, coming off a two wins and a runner-up in Australia, and defending champion Dustin Johnson were among those at 70, the average score for the two pros in their previous 18 pairings.

Johnson rebounded Saturday, Jan. 4, with a 7-under 66 that had him tied with two others in second place overall at 10-under 136 through 36 holes.

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“Yesterday was a little bit different,” said Johnson, who caught on fire in the front nine, making six birdies in posting a 30. “I thought it played a little tougher yesterday. The course is in great shape.”

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Good enough to propel Johnson to a repeat performance here?

“This golf course sets up well for me. I can reach all the par 5s and there are a few short holes that I can drive it up close to the green, so if I chip it and putt it well, I should shoot a good score pretty much every time here.”

Newcomer Michael Thompson, Chris Kirk and Webb Simpson were tied atop the leaderboard with Spieth going into Saturday’s second round of the 72-hole tournament, which kicks off the PGA Tour new year.

Kevin Streelman is seen smiling during the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Plantation Course at Kapalua on Friday, Jan. 3. Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR.

Kevin Streelman is seen smiling during the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Plantation Course at Kapalua on Friday, Jan. 3. Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR.

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Only two players in the 30-man field of the winners-only event failed to break par as overnight showers and variable winds — mostly blowing Kona — made for a manageable Plantation Course.

Despite playing once in the last two months, Kirk got his groove going on the back nine and finished with five consecutive brides.

“I think the more times you play it, the more advantage you have,” said Kirk. “Today was a little bit funny. Today was a day with the wind . . .  I’ve never played in this wind. All the guys who have played here a bunch of times, you’re very rarely going to see that wind. So that could throw some people off that were used to it.”

Kevin Streelman had two eagles and a birdie through the first five holes Friday, only to bogey his last two holes and finish with a 67. Also at 67 were PGA champion Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson and Ryan Moore. The top 10 players were separated by three shots.

Adam Scott, coming off a two wins and a runner-up in Australia, and defending champion Dustin Johnson were among those at 70, the average score for the two pros in their previous 18 pairings.

Spieth is still feeding off his whirlwind rookie season, winning the John Deere Classic, finishing No. 7 in the FedExCup and playing on the Presidents Cup team.

“It’s almost like a vacation tournament in a sense,” Spieth said. “It’s been an awesome week so far. Obviously, I’m here for this reason, and I don’t have my family here with me. So there’s definitely more of an emphasis on golf than maybe some other guys are putting into it here. Maybe that’s an advantage.”

Hyundai Tournament of Champions 2014 Pro-Am winners Robert Masiello, Jerry Miller, Bob Warren and Stuart Giles, pose with Kevin Streelman following their win Thursday at The Plantation Course. Photo by Kapalua Golf Club.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions 2014 Pro-Am winners Robert Masiello, Jerry Miller, Bob Warren and Stuart Giles, pose with Kevin Streelman following their win Thursday at The Plantation Course. Photo by Kapalua Golf Club.

***

Hyundai Tournament of Champions 2014 Pro-Am Results
55 — Kevin Streelman (Robert Masiello, Jerry Miller, Bob Warren and Stuart Giles)
57 — Chris Kirk (Jeff Chung, Allan Ikawa, John Komeji, Warren Haruki)
57 — Derek Ernst (Jon Kindred, Mike Ryan, Cherrie Tan, Allan Solheim)
57 — Jordan Spieth (JJ Qualkenbush, Mark Bratton, Scott Jones, Sean Paul Harney)

All-Amateur Tournament Results

Gross — 1. Kyle Wolberg 71, 2. JJ Qualkenbush 72, 3. Cherrie Tan 73.

Net — 1. Scott Marhofer 57, Mike Miller 64, Mike Lee 65.

Closest to the Hole #5 — Sang Keun Lee 3’ 7”

Closest to the Hole #12 — Cherrie Tan 3’ 9”

A traditional Haiwaiian dancer performs at the start of round one of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on Friday, Jan. 3. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images.

A traditional Haiwaiian dancer performs at the start of round one of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on Friday, Jan. 3. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images.

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