As usual, Maui is the backdrop to kick of the new calendar year as 33 of the 37 winners from 2018 tee it up for a chance at the first trophy of 2019.
Here’s what I learned in Round 1:
Here are nine tidbits from the opening round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions that gamers can use tomorrow, this weekend or down the road. The Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort plays 7,518 yards to Par-73.
Kevin Tway posted a bogey-free 66 (-7) in his maiden voyage to lead by a shot. Tway qualified with his season-opening win at the Safeway Open, his first TOUR win. He’ll look to join Sergio Garcia (2002) and Daniel Chopra (2008) as players to win in their first appearance at the Sentry TOC. Of the 33 players, more on that in a minute, 25 signed for par or better.
Gamers knew the wind was going to blow Thursday and Friday and they weren’t let down in the opening round. Here’s what Webb Simpson’s veteran caddie Paul Tesori had to say:
You know #LiveUnderPar!
These were the top-10 selected golfers in the PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf game . If you’re wondering why you’re not doing well, here’s why:
Sharks are out to open 2019!
Gary Woodland is no longer a free agent on the equipment market as he signed a deal to play Wilson. He’s one of many this time of year to have new arrows in the quiver and what better time to get started than a no-cut event! Eight birdies against just two bogeys saw him settle in at T2 as he looks to pick up his fourth top-10 in five events in the new season.
There were three players who gained over three shots on the greens versus the field in Round 1.
Bryson DeChambeau 3.868 (T6)
Cameron Champ 3.599 (T16)
Andrew Putnam 3.022 (T6)
Experience used to be a determining factor at Kapalua as these are known as difficult greens to read. DeChambeau (second trip), Champ (first time) and Putnam (first time) are making the counter-argument to start the week. I’ll keep an eye on this as the week continues.
Only Australians Stuart Appleby (three straight) and Geoff Ogilvy (2009-10) have returned and conquered with the target firmly on their backs. Dustin Johnson will look to join both as he looks for win No. 3 on Maui. His defense is in fine form as he led the field in Strokes-Gained: Tee-to-Green after the first round and sits T2. DJ gained almost FOURTEEN shots against the field Tee-to-Green as he won by eight last year.
If you’re old like me, you’ll remember the great Brady Bunch episode when they went to Hawaii and had the worst time. After posting 63 in Round 3 in his first visit to hit the podium at T3, Brooks Koepka hasn’t had much fun here. Last year it was the wrist and this year the bogeys. His squared five plus a double and sits T30 out of 33 players, 10 shots off the lead. He was dead last in Strokes-Gained: Off-the-tee as he only found eight of 15 fairways.
Aloha Means Hello and Goodbye and…
Gamers, Na injured his pinky last week but didn’t know it was broken. He tried treatment to overcome the pain but it wasn’t happening. Nobody flies to Maui unless they think they can play but it’s the best spot in the world to be wrong! Na will probably miss a few weeks to get healed and ready to go so substitute as necessary until he’s back.
Patton Kizzire aced No. 8 with a 7-iron from 186 yards. He sits T4 in his second visit after T15 last year. … Mike Davis is no longer going to be the man out front setting up USGA Championships. That job will fall to John Bodenhamer but Davis will still lend a hand. This year’s U.S. Open is at Pebble Beach. … Last year was the first year in four that The Plantation Course wasn’t the easiest on TOUR. The first round scoring average was 71.33 (-1.67) even though the winds gusted up to 31 mph.