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Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Four Tied at theTop.

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2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions started with a first round four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard at the Plantation Course at Kapalua,  MauiHawaii.

Jordan Spieth / Getty

Jordan Spieth was one of the first round leaders, fresh from some coaching to adjust technical glitches with his grip and flattening the plane on his downswing to hit more draws. It all worked as Jordan shot a bogey free first round -7 under par 66 to share the lead in the clubhouse. The rookie of the year explained that his swing got out of whack;

“With that many events, your body just wants to do so many different things. You’re playing in heavy winds one week and the next week you’re trying to launch it out. I still don’t own my swing yet, kind of all over the place.” I had new member orientation this week, I think it was more of a brief meeting than it normally is for new members. I have no excuses and I’m ready to play.”

Jordan shares the top spot with, Michael Thompson, Chris Kirk and Webb Simpson, who all carded -7 under par 66.

Webb Simpson / Getty

Webb was  fully prepared, he had also been working on his game during the brief winter break;

“My off-season was pretty staggered, two weeks off and have to play; two weeks off and play. I was trying to figure out the proper rest versus practice, but I’m the type of guy that I hate not being prepared. And so I tried to just literally not touch a club for 10 days and then once I got back, then I hit it hard the last 10 days. So I’d say I’m somewhere in the middle. You know, there’s just a few shots in the round you need to step up and hit, and today I had a few of those and I was able to hit some good shots. Take care of the par fives, and just one dropped shot, one poor iron swing on 7, but overall, great start.”

The two Johnson’s, Zach and the big hitting Dustin are also in this field, Zach in contention with an opening -6 under pat 67, and Dustin with a more modest -3 under par 70. You would expect Dustin to tear up the par fives here, with his prodigious distance off the tee, so stand by.

Sony Open, Russell Henley Hijacks the Lead

Russell Henley / Hugh Gentry/Reuters

Russell Henley hijacked the second round lead in the Sony Open in Hawaii, from his friend and first round leader Scott Langley, with another round of -7 under par 63. The two rookies continue to defy all the odds and dominate the leaderboard between them. Russell, who is just  two days into his PGA Tour career is already in the record books, breaking the 36-hole tournament scoring record by two shots, at -14 under par and a total of 126, the previous 36-hole record at the Sony Open was 128, shared by five players, most recently John Cook in 2002.

Russell said it all seems a bit unreal;

” It’s pretty surreal.”

The two Scotts, Langley and Piercy are now tied two shots behind on -12 under par, Scott Langley followed his opening round 62, with a second round of 66, and Scott Piercy had another round of 64, both players total 128.

Scott Langley admitted it was hard to match his amazing first round 62;

“It’s never easy to back up a really good round, I kind of got off to a little slower start, but it was certainly nice to finish the way I did and kind of get back in it with Russ. He played so well, and I was just trying to keep pace as much as I can. To finish that way was really good.”

Scott Piercy had to admit he knew very little about the two new rookies;

” It’s Russell something and Langley?  I think Russell won when he was in college, right? Hey, they’re playing well. I think I played in five final groups as a rookie and didn’t come through. There’s a learning curve, but maybe their curve is quicker than mine.”

Matt Kuchar is in fourth place alone on -11 under par, with his second round score of -7 under par, 63. Matt was real happy with the conditions here at the Waialae Country Club in  Honolulu, coming from last weeks windy weather in Maui;

” Coming from last week, it feels really easy out there, this course, is not as simple as it seems, it’s one of the tougher courses on tour. If you’re not playing well, you’re going to make some bogeys. I understand the wind is supposed to really die down over the weekend, so I certainly expect low scoring. The course is in great shape, greens are beautiful, so there’s going to be a lot more birdies and your foot has definitely got to be down on the pedal.”

One sad note today, Dustin Johnson who won last week at Kapalua, withdrew after nine holes today, suffering from the flu. Dustin will now not  get a chance to match Ernie Els as the only players to sweep the two Hawaii events.

He said of his malaise;

” I feel like I’m coming down with whatever my caddie’s got, just not feeling well. Stomach hurts, headache, tired.”

I think that as long as Scott and Russell are paired together one of them will win this tournament  they are helping each other and are not too bothered about the rest of the field. But if they are split up for the last round, competing against a seasoned Tour professional, then the going will get a little tougher coming down the stretch on Sunday.

Sony Open, Hawaii, Rookie Scott Langley Leads

SONY OPEN

on the left is Scott Langley/ Getty Images

The Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club.had a surprising first round leader in Scott Langley, in his first start as a rookie on Tour. Scott fired in a first round 62, -8 under par, with some wonderful stroke play and nerveless putting. Scott said he was excited about the coming days of this tournament;

“I’m a young guy, but I’m old enough to know that we have a lot of golf left. We’ve barely started, and I’m excited about the next few days.”

Just one shot behind the leader in second place is another rookie, Russell Henley, with his opening effort of -7 under par 63. Russell was pleased he got friends Scott and Luke Guthrie as his playing partners in the first round;

“I think there was a lot of nerves for me the first few holes and I think playing with Scotty and Luke was huge for me, and watching them play well kind of gave me a goal to try to keep up with them, so it was definitely fun feeding off them.”

Unfortunately Luke Guthrie did not fare so well, finishing at +1 over par, tied in 88th place.

A year ago Scott and Russell two were playing in a Hooters Tour event in Florida, Russell missing the cut and Scott just making it to proceed, walking up sixteen today the pair reminisced, Scott said;

“We were on the range trying to help each other find it. We were just walking up 16, you could see the ocean behind, PGA TOUR signs everywhere. We looked at each other and realized this is pretty cool. To look back one year ago and to know that we weren’t here, we were in a far different place.”

Tied in third spot at -6 under par are Scott Piercy and Tim Clark, Scott Piercy had a 64 in the morning, with Tim Clark matching that score in the afternoon session. Tim spent most of last year suffering from a mystery elbow injury, and came into this tournament with fairly low expectations;

“It’s going to be an exciting year for me because I do feel like I’m healthy again and can play a full schedule. I’m obviously doing a lot better than I was last year.”

Scott Piercy, the RBC Canadian Open champion, was among 20 players in the field who started their season last week on Maui, at the weather wrecked Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course, he recalled the terrible putting performance he endured;

” Seven three-putts and a four-putt last week. The wind wasn’t even blowing today compared to last week. I just played solid today, hit it in a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, made two fairly key putts and took care of the par fives.”

Seventy players in the 144-man field broke par, they included a pair from the Champions Tour. Russ Cochran, who won the Senior British Open in 2011, he had a first round of 68 and Fred Funk who shot an even par round of 70.

PGA Tour Parts Company with Mickey and Minnie, and The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.

 

It was a sad day Monday when the PGA Tour released a portion of its 2013-14 schedule, with one glaring omission. The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic is not part of the new lineup. Tournament spokesperson Tony Morreale announced;

 “It was a mutual decision between us and the Tour.”

The Disney event has  been a permanent fixture on the Tour since 1971, when Jack Nicklaus won the inaugural Walt Disney World Open Invitational, and in recent years it has enjoyed being the final event on the circuit’s schedule. For sometime now speculation had been building  that with the Tour’s transition to a split-calendar schedule beginning next season, and the loss of its title sponsor, November’s event, which was last won by Charlie Beljan, would be the end of the Miracles for the Children.

Ryan Palmer the 2004 Disney champion, said;

” I honestly think it would have gotten a better field as part of the FedEx Cup. It will be sad to see an event like this go away. Disappointed to see it leave.”

The Frys.com Open will start the 2013-14 schedule beginning Oct. 20-13 followed by the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (Oct. 17-20) in Las Vegas. Then following two events in Asia, CIMB Classic (Oct. 24-27) and World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions (Oct. 31-3) – the circuit returns to North America for The McGladrey Classic in Georgia and the OHL Classic at Mayakoba (Mexico) in November. After November there will be a break of one and a half months before the Tour resumes it’s season with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions Friday Jan 4 – Monday Jan 7, 2013, at the Plantation Course at Kapalua · Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii.

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