Tour Tracker: Four tied for Hyundai lead
Friday, January 3, 2014
Mother Nature stayed away and the best in the world took advantage of a soft Kapalua track on Friday during the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Chris Kirk, Michael Thompson, Jordan Spieth and Webb Simpson all carded 7-under 66s to share the lead after 18 holes, while four player trail by a stroke, including Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.
Here's how the day unfolded:
• • •
Update #19: 9:55 p.m. EST
The day's marquee pairing of Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott finishes in style with a pair of birdies on No. 18 to help both card 3-under 70s.
• • •
Update #18: 9:42 p.m. EST
Jordan Spieth hits an outstanding third shot into the par-5 18th to leave himself 8 feet for birdie and he drains it for a bogey-free, 7-under 66 to jump into a tie for the lead.
Playing competitor Webb Simpson taps in a 2-footer for a birdie on 18 to also card a 66, setting up a four-way tie for the lead with Michael Thompson and Chris Kirk.
PHOTOS: Hyundai TOC, Round 1
A look at Round 1 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii.
• • •
Update #17: 9:24 p.m. EST
Jason Dufner won't be happy about his final nine holes, although he did no damage to himself by finishing with nine consecutive pars to finish with a 6-under 67. He missed a 12-footer for birdie on the par-5 18th that would have given him a share of the lead.
• • •
Update #16: 9:20 p.m. EST
Kevin Streelman finishes his round bogey-bogey at the tough 17th and 18th holes to fall back to 6 under and is one back of Chris Kirk and Michael Thompson.
Both Jason Dufner and Jordan Spieth are still on the course at 6 under, both having the par-5 18th left to try and jump into a share of the lead.
• • •
Update #15: 9:07 p.m. EST
Kevin Streelman heads to the 18th hole having dropped just his second shot of the day after a sloppy bogey at the par-4 17th hole, falling back to 7 under and is tied with Chris Kirk and Michael Thompson.
Streelman's day started in spectacular fashion, picking up the first of two eagles with this shot from the fairway on No. 3:
• • •
Update #14: 8:22 p.m. EST
Kevin Streelman is making Kapalua look downright easy today, posting two eagles and five birdies and is currently one shot up on Michael Thompson.
When we last saw Streelman, he was withdrawing from the Australian Open with an eye injury.
Streelman won the Tampa Bay Championship in 2013, starting a stretch of six tournaments that he finished T-6 or better four times.
• • •
Update #13: 8 p.m. EST
Michael Thompson has enjoyed a nice back-nine, especially after picking up his only bogey on the par-4 10th, picking up five birdies over his next six holes to move all the way to 6 under, one shot back of Kevin Streelman. Thompson could very well be in the lead, but missed a 5-footer for eagle on No. 15.
The day's marquee pairing of Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson hasn't lived up to the hype thus far today, with Scott at 1 under and Johnson at even through 10 holes. Johnson came into the round a bit hobbled after sleeping on his neck wrong on Tuesday, causing him to miss the pro-am on Thursday.
• • •
Update #12: 7:30 p.m. EST
The final group has moved to the par-3 8th hole, with the day's first group on the 17th hole. Here are some tidbits from the round thus far:
• Only two players are over par for the round -- Derek Ernst and Jonas Blixt -- with Ernst enjoying a forgettable round that includes five bogeys, a double bogey and just one birdie (on par-5 9th).
• There are five eagles on the round, one on the par-4 3rd (Kevin Streelman), three on the par-5 5th (Jason Dufner, Kevin Streelman, Ryan Moore) and one on par-5 9th (Brandt Snedeker).
• Jason Dufner (6 under), Jordan Spieth (2 under) and Matt Kuchar (2 under) are the only players without a bogey on Friday.
• Through 17 holes, Woody Austin has five birdies and four bogeys for a very colorful scorecard.
• • •
Update #11: 7:05 p.m. EST
Wow. Jason Dufner might have an eagle on his card today, but his birdie on the par-3 8th is definitely his most impressive hole of the day. After missing the green to the right and in the long rough, Dufner plays a high flop shot from the short side and gets it to trickle into the hole, jumping into a share of the lead at 5 under.
Dufner then gives himself a great chance at another eagle on the par-5 9th, missing the putt by two inches and he takes the outright lead at 6 under.
• • •
Update #10: 6:33 p.m. EST
Jason Dufner is making Kapalua look easy right now, backing up an eagle at the par-5 5th with a birdie at the par-4 6th and he has jumped into a share of the lead at 4 under.
Dufner won his first major title at the PGA championship in August, but 2013 might be best known as the year of "Dufnering." Check out our photo gallery of Dufner's buddies on Tour making fun of the fun-loving Auburn product.
Best bud Keegan Bradley even got into the act during tournament play:
• • •
Update #9: 6:20 p.m. EST
Adam Scott, who beat out Tiger for the GWAA Men's Player of the Year award on Thursday that caused Twitter and message boards to light up a bit, makes a beautiful birdie on the par-3 2nd hole from the fringe, draining a put of more than 35 feet.
Red numbers are beginning to show up on the course, with Jason Dufner and Kevin Streelman both picking up eagle on the par-5 5th hole. Streelman also had an eagle on the par-4 3rd hole.
• • •
Update #8: 6:15 p.m. EST
Jordan Spieth, who talked of his focus on majors and more than 25 Tour tournaments in 2014 on Thursday, makes his first birdie of 2014 after a nice wedge shot from 87 yards on No. 3.
It was a year ago that Spieth was struggling to choose between staying at Texas (and get after an NCAA title) or go pro. His decision to do the latter proved to be a wise one, winning the John Deere Classic and then earning a spot on the U.S. Presidents Cup team.
Spieth also features his own, unique swing, caught in our For Your Game in 2011:
• • •
Update #7: 5:50 p.m. EST
Ryan Moore, who registered on a few of our experts' minds in our weekly picks, is hot early in Kapalua, sharing the lead with Sang-Moon Bae at 3 under.
Moore has started the wraparound 2014 season in good shape, winning the CIMB Classic in a playoff as well as a T-9 in the Shriners Hospital for Children Open. The victory came more than a year after Moore won the Shriners title in late 2012.
Our David Dusek broke down Moore's winning bag, which is a mixed one that includes TaylorMade, Ping and YES!
• • •
Update #6: 5:30 p.m. EST
Michael Thompson -- just a shot off the lead early in Friday's round -- had a memorable 2013, holding off Geoff Ogilvy by two shots at the Honda Classic for his first PGA Tour victory. He also had a T-8 the following week at the WGC-Cadillac and another T-8 at The Memorial -- all three with world-class fields.
Thompson is also a huge Alabama fan -- he played collegiately there and lives in Birmingham, Ala. -- so he might be taking a bit of frustration out on the golf ball today after the Crimson Tide's poor showing against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl on Thursday night.
He summed it up pretty well on his Twitter account (follow him here): "That was tough to watch"
Not tough to watch? His beautiful swing:
• • •
Update #5: 5:05 p.m. EST
Yes, it is incredibly early and more than half the field hasn't even teed off, but an unfamiliar name is atop the leaderboard at the moment – Scott Brown.
Brown won the Puerto Rico Open on the 72nd hole in 2013, but still didn't get much notice because the event is opposite the WGC-Cadillac.
He jumped an incredible 522 spots in our Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings by the end of the year.
His big move was noteworthy enough that we profiled him in our year-end number-crunching series on those that rose and fell in our rankings. Read all about Brown here.
• • •
Update #4: 4:45 p.m. EST
Two young stars teed off in back-to-back groups, with Patrick Reed and Russell Henley looking for PGA Tour victory No. 2.
The players were rivals in college not too long ago, with Henley an All-American at Georgia and Reed an NCAA champion at Augusta State.
Henley won in his first start as a rookie last year at the Sony Open, while Reed won in a playoff at the Wyndham Championship. Henley earned just under $400,000 more than Reed in 2013, with the Bulldog taking home just over $2 million.
We also found out last year that Henley has a secret talent when we caught up with him at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. Totally worth a listen:
• • •
Update #3: 4:25 p.m. EST
And for the first birdie . . . that goes to Sang-Moon Bae, who drains a near 20-footer for a 2 at the par-3 2nd hole. Playing competitor Ken Duke followed moments later with a 7-footer for birdie as well.
Do you remember taking a "vacay on Sang-Moon Bae?"
Yes, we are referencing the Golf Boys 2.Oh.
• • •
Update #2: 4:06 p.m. EST
For you trivia buffs out there, the first (and second) bogeys of the 2014 calendar year go to Woody Austin. With six players having at least completed a hole, there have been no birdies just eyt.
• • •
Update #1: 3:40 p.m. EST
And just like that, 2014 on the PGA Tour has begun, with Derek Ernst and Woody Austin both hitting their opening tee shots at Kapalua.
Ernst won the Wells Fargo Championship in a playoff in 2013. Ernst, a UNLV product, struggled for most of the campaign, missing 14 of 21 cuts in his rookie season.
Austin won the Sandersons Farm Championship, his first PGA Tour title since the St. Jude Championship in 2007. Austin has nearly $16.3 million in career earnings, turning pro in 1986.
• • •
The field is stout, but our panel of experts wades through the short field to offer up their predictions for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions this week.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson missed the pro-am on Thursday with neck stiffness but remained confident that he would be able to make his 12:50 p.m. (HST) first-round tee time with Masters champion Adam Scott on Friday.
Jordan Spieth earned nearly $3.9 million on the PGA Tour in his rookie season, and he won the John Deere Classic. Now he is putting his focus into the major championships and intends to play many more events in 2014.
Adam Scott, No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, will play in 2014's first two tournaments and then take a six-week break, potentially leaving himself in a FedEx Cup hole.