Chris Kirk and Zach Johnson posted 7-under 63
Chris Kirk is tied for the lead with Zach Johnson in round one of Sony Open in Hawaii. Johnson delayed his arrival in Hawaii due to his flu which kept him in his home for the starting six days of the new year, and he surprised even himself with a 7-under 63 for the lead, with no preparation time.
“I was not right getting on the plane to come here. I am one that likes to prepare,” Johnson said.
“I got here Friday, and I touched a golf club Saturday through Wednesday. Saturday was awful. It was about a three-hour session. It was at least two hours too many because I was not right.
“My legs were shot and my back hurt.”
Johnson has been a winner at the Sony Open in 2009, and his last win came at The Open Championship in 2015.
“Probably (unexpected) more than expected,” he said of his start.
“But I’ve had many weeks where I’m rested from a mental standpoint, certainly a physical standpoint, where I play great.
“I remember a couple of times I’ve had a couple ski trips and I come back the next week, didn’t even touch a club, and I start preparing on the golf course, and I play great. I don’t necessarily win, but I played great. I know it can happen.”
Chris Kirk posted a bogey-free 7-under 63 for the day, for a share of the lead.
“I actually hit it fine, but I’m not somebody that’s going to overpower a golf course ever. My game is hit fairways, hit irons close, and make some putts. To have a year like that where I really struggled putting made it very difficult mentally and difficult in every possible way that it could.”
Following the co-leaders are Kyle Stanley, Vaughn Taylor, Talor Gooch, and Brian Harman for the T-3rd position on the board at six-under 64, one shot short of the leaders. Brian Harman finished third at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he co-led the field in the second round which was won by Dustin Johnson with massive 8-strokes.
Justin Thomas, the defending champion for the consecutive week, finished for a T-20th position on the board with a bogey-free 3-under 67, and joined by a long list consisting Robert Streb, J.J. Spaun, Charles Howell III, James Hahn, Austin Cook, Si Woo Kim, Webb Simpson, Daniel Berger, Jason Kokrak, Matt Jones, Brandon Harkins, Lanto Griffin, Shugo Imahira, Gary Woodland, Brian Stuard, Patton Kizzire, Ryan Armor, Chris Stroud, Beau Hossler, and Sam Saunders.