Johnson and Kirk share lead in Hawaii

Adjust Comment Print

One week after Harman shared the 36-hole lead at Kapalua, he ran off three straight birdies and closed with a 15-foot eagle putt for a 7-under 63 and a three-shot lead going into the weekend at the Sony Open.

Jordan Spieth was basking in the Hawaiian sun until his day fell apart in stunning fashion with a late quadruple-bogey to finish six shots back of first-round Sony Open leaders Zach Johnson and Chris Kirk on Thursday.

Spieth's tee shot at the eighth hole clipped a tree on the left side of the fairway, and his second shot barely advanced after it caromed off another branch. He wound up with a quadruple-bogey 8, marring his eight-birdie round for only a 69.

Defending champion Justin Thomas was closer to the cut line than the lead until he made a trio of 8-foot putts - two for birdies, one for eagle - to close out a 67.

The American, a former Alabama golfer, handed ex-Georgia golfer Kevin Kisner (68) a jersey to wear on the 17th hole.

Harman, who has four top-10 finishes in four starts in the U.S. tour's 2017-18 season, teed off early at Waialea in Honolulu, and opened with back-to-back birdies at the 10th and 11th.

Kirk had only one top 10 last year - his final event of the year in the RSM Classic at Sea Island - and almost two months off didn't appear to halt any momentum. He might have been rusty, but not when it comes to island life. He realized how little golf he had played during the short offseason when he reached into his bag and found golf balls that he had marked for the final round at Sea Island.

"I'm kind of going back to some of the drills that I did four, five years ago when I was putting week-in, week-out really well, and trying to do those drills every day", Kirk said.

"This time of the season, the next four or five events that I play, I'm not really thinking about the Masters".

Spieth played well enough to be right there with them except for a pair of long three-putt bogeys - and that one tee shot.

He could have dropped it with a penalty stroke, but there was nowhere to go.

Waialae is at sea level - waist-high hedges along the 16th and 17th holes and behind the 11th green are all that separate grass from the beach - with smaller, flatter greens and fairways framed by trees. His only choice there was to dump it into the bunker, where the sand was thin.

In Hawaii, of all places.