On a perfect Hawaiian day, Jordan Spieth went out and set the first round pace Thursday at the Sony Open.
Spieth, who is trying to ditch that weird, loopy, pre-shot practice move of his, shot a six-under par 64 and shares the top spot with Chris Kirk and Taylor Montgomery.
Spieth’s only regret was not making birdie at the short (508-yard) par five ninth where an errant drive cost him his shot at reaching the green in two. In all, he had eight birdies on the day and a single bogey at Waialae Country Club.
Despite that fairway miss at the ninth, Spieth had his game in order. His driving was the strongest part of his game. Spieth also hit 15 greens and used just 27 putts.
And Spieth sounded confident after he finished.
“I’m confident relative to other time periods I’ve been off to similar starts, which is a really good place to be,” Spieth said. “I believe I can shoot five or six-under each day out here. Not to say that that means it’ll happen, but there are other times I would be sitting there going, ‘how do I hold this shit together’, to be honest.”
For Kirk, Waialae has been good to him. Two years ago, after stepping away to deal with alcoholism and depression, he had one last start on a medical extension to keep his card and shot 65 on the last day to tie for second, regaining full playing privileges.
He’s once again in a good spot, he had seven birdies, one bogey on day one.
Kirk, like the majority of the first full-field tournament of the year, has not played in seven weeks since the RSM Classic at Sea Island. But he worked plenty hard in the offseason, especially on his fitness, and he has hit the ground running.
Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama opened with 68 and was tied for 41st.
There was a crowd in at 65 — Harris English, Denny McCarthy, Brendon Todd, David Lipsky, Rory Sabbatini and Ben Griffin.
Due to the size of the field, there were still players on the course when darkness halted play. Among them was S.H. Kim who was five-under through 16 holes.