Round 1 will be completed this morning on Oahu but this man’s lead is safe:
1.) The wind was blowing, scores were insane and Morikawa didn’t make any bogeys. He’s never missed the cut in 15 starts and it looks like he’s on the way to extending that streak.
2.) Matt Jones (T2) won the Australian Open at his home course his last time out. Something about Aussies and wind goes together like peanut butter and jelly. Unless you’re allergic to peanuts. This isn’t a peanut-free zone. Please don’t eat this post.
3.) Oh, hey, Ryan Palmer (T2)! Had him top 10 and each way last week. It’s probably not a coincidence that 15 of the last 21 winners played Kapalua the week before.
4.) It’s also not a coincidence that only two players this century have made Waialae their first TOUR victory. Experience pays here. Palmer won the 2011 title.
5.) Patrick Rodgers (T6) last top 25 was last February at Riviera.
6.) Pat Perez (T6) has had a late checkout in 14 of 17 Sony Opens.
7.) Brendan Steele (T6) last cashed in the top 10 (T3) in February of 2018 in Scottsdale.
8.) Defending champ and course horse Matt Kuchar signed for 69 (T16).
9.) The last two Sony Open champs have won the previous November at Mayakoba. Brendon Todd, this year’s champ, is T6 and looking to extend that streak.
10.) Patton Kizzire (E; T31) looks to finish in the top 15 for the third consecutive year.
11.) Cameron Smith’s six birdies are tied with Morikawa for the most in Round 1. All of his birdies this week will come with a donation to help Australians battling the epic wildfires.
12.) Justin Thomas is looking to become the first player to do the Kapalua-Waialae double TWICE. He’s T63 (+2) but led the field in SG: Off-the-Tee. Now, about that short game…
13.) I wrote this is a second-shot course earlier in the week and one of the key stats would be SG: Approach-the-Green. Morikawa gained almost four shots in Round 1 and leads the field and the tournament.
14.) Only one player in the top 15 on the leaderboard is top 10 SG: Around-the-Green and that’s Aussie Cam Davis (T6). He was No. 117 in this category last season.
15.) Cameron Smith leads the field in putting, gaining almost five shots in the opening round. That’s not surprising as he has a fantastic short game.
16.) Corey Conners (T6) and Brendan Steele (T6) are Nos. 2 and 3 in SG: Putting. Conners was No. 181 and Steele No. 176 in this category last season. Both are known for their tee-to-green games.
17.) Charles Howell posted 72 (T63) for his first over-par round since Round 1 of 2014. It was only his eighth round over par in 69 tries. Nice.
18.) RIP Pete Dye