KAPALUA, HAWAII – Jordan Spieth thought the Plantation Course was a blast to play when he arrived at Kapalua. He had even more fun Friday.
Coming off a sensational rookie season, Spieth opened the new year by never coming close to bogey and making a 12-foot birdie putt on the last hole for a 7-under 66. That gave him a share of the lead at the Tournament of Champions with fellow newcomer Michael Thompson, Chris Kirk and Webb Simpson.
“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 . . . getting ready for today, and now just happy to be in good position after the first round.”
The wind off the west coast of Maui was the biggest surprise, shifting direction and speed throughout the opening round on a mostly sunny afternoon. But with 25.4 mm of rain overnight, the Plantation Course was soft enough that only two players in the 30-man field of PGA Tour winners failed to break par.
PGA champion Jason Dufner had four birdies and an eagle on his front-nine 30, only to settle into a string of pars on the back nine for a 6-under 67. Kevin Streelman bogeyed his last two holes and also was at 67, along with 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.