Defending champion Kevin Na is right where he finished last year in the Sony Open in Hawaii.
The 38-yar-old Na carded a 9-under-par 61 to take a one-stroke lead over Jim Furyk, 51, and Russell Henley after the first round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Golf Cub in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“I just hit a lot of good putts, including one for (from six feet) for eagle on, the ninth hole,” said Na, who has won five times on the PGA Tour. “I just hit the ball well and gave myself some good chances and actually could have made a few more, but just missed a few times.
“I just kept giving myself good chances all the way through the round, made several birdies and just kept on going. I thought I had had a chance to shoot 59, but I missed a few good chances and just didn’t get it done. But it’s still out there.
“But I gave myself a good chance at 18 and made it to take the lead.”
Na, from Diamond Bar in Southern California, birdied four of the first six holes, sank a six-foot eagle putt at No. 9 and added a six-footer for birdie on the last hole to cap his bogey-free round to take sole possession of the lead.
Furyk, who plays mostly on the Champions Tour, showed he can still compete with younger generation by carding a 62 that included a hole in one from 186 yards at No. 17 after making three straight birdies.
“I wasn’t sure, but Fluff (caddie Mike Cowan) convinced me that it was a 6-iron, and it was right on the line all the way, on target, and rolled right to the hole (for his ace),” said Furyk, won this tournament in 1996. “I have always loved this course.
“I made a bogey on the first hole and then got back on track with three birdies on the next four holes. I just got on a roll and made some long putts, almost 30-footers on the third and fifth holes, and got on another roll with the putter on the back before the hole in one.”
Said Henley: “I had some good chances out there and a few of them went in.”
Kevin Chappell of Fresno and UCLA birdied four of the last seven holes in a 63 and is tied for fourth with Patton Kizzire, who birdied the last two holes, Michael Thompson, who birdied three of the last five, Seamus Power of Ireland, who played bogey-free, and Haotong Li of China, who birdied the last two holes while finishing on the front nine.
Matt Kuchar, who won the Sony Open in Hawaii three years ago, birdied three of the last four holes to cap a bogey-free 64 and is tied for ninth with Tyler Duncan, J.T. Poston, Ryan Palmer, Corey Conners of Canada, Adam Svensson of Canada, and Jason Kokrak, who sank a nine-foot eagle putt while finishing on the ninth hole.
Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan birdied the last two holes and is tied for 24th at 66, and 10th-rankedCameron Smith of Australia, who won the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week, is tied for 40th at 67,
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