Adam Svensson opened with a bogey-free round of 61 and will take a one-shot lead into round two of the Sony Open.
On his first day at Waialae Country Club, the 24-year old Canadian rookie carded one eagle and seven birdies, highlighted by a six-hole stretch on Nos. 9-14, where he went 6-under par (eagle-par-birdie-birdie-birdie-birdie).
“I mean, obviously I’m honored to be in the Hawaii. It’s a great place,” said a still-surprised Svensson.
“Yeah, today just kind of was all a blur. I don’t really remember what holes I birdied and stuff. It was kind of I was just flowing, yeah, just having a good time and enjoying it.”
One back was Andrew Putnam who used a hot putter to card a morning round of 62, giving himself the marquee position for most of the prime-time TV coverage. Putnam finished with nine birdies against one bogey en route to an 8-under par 62, one clear of Matt Kuchar, who posted a bogey-free round of 63.
“Yeah, putter was hot. I don’t know how many feet I made with putts, but it was getting a little ridiculous out there,” commented Putnam, who led the field with 1.3 putts/GIR.
Three players were deadlocked at 5-under par 65, including Chez Reavie, Hudson Swafford, and Shugo Imahira, who is playing on a sponsor exemption.
A logjam of 10 players were one further back at 4-under par, led by Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner, and Cameron Smith.
Justin Thomas, the tournament favorite, got off to a strong start with a pair of birdies on Nos. 1 and 4, followed by an eagle on No. 9 to turn with a clean 4-under 31. He added a second eagle on the 18th hole, but in between mixed four bogeys (Nos. 11, 15, 16, and 17) against just one more birdie to finish at 3-under par.
Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, the co-tournament headliner alongside Thomas, brought his late-season struggles into the new year, finishing with a 3-over par 73 to sit T127. Spieth is in danger of missing his second-straight cut (in another weak event) if he doesn’t put up a low number (65 or better?) on Friday.
2019 SONY OPEN IN HAWAII
TOP 5 LEADERS: ROUND ONE
1. Adam Svensson -9 (-9)
2. Andrew Putnam -8 (-8)
3. Matt Kuchar -7 (-7)
4. Chez Reavie -5 (-5)
4. Hudson Swafford -5 (-5)
4. Shugo Imahira -5 (-5)
STAT LEADERS: ROUND ONE
Driving: Sang-Moon Bae – 339.3 yards
Fairways: Benjamin Silverman – 13/14, 92.9%
Greens: Rikuya Hoshino – 17/18, 94.4%
Putting: Andrew Putnam – 1.308
Eagles: Justin Thomas – 2
Birdies: Andrew Putnam – 9
VIDEO: ROUND-1 HIGHLIGHTS
“Just kind of the same game plan. It worked great today. I feel like hit a lot of fairways. I didn’t hit driver on a lot of holes. I kind of laid back a little bit here and there, and I also played aggressive. So just kind of depends on the wind and then just feel it out. Obviously when it’s windy there is not really a game plan. You just go out there and play. We’ll see tomorrow.”
– Adam Svensson