The first round of the new year is now in the books and birdies were plentiful in the windy, tropical paradise of Maui, where 21 of the 33 players in the field managed to shoot under par.
Here’s what you missed from Round 1 of the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua’s Plantation Course.
1. Bryson DeChambeau did in fact make putts with the flagstick in
After many weeks of anticipatory hype, DeChambeau made good on his vow to putt with the flagstick in the hole, and capitalizing on a USGA Rules change that went into effect on January 1.
Turns out, leaving the flagstick in looks like a pretty sound strategy. DeChambeau made six birdies in his opening round, and finished with a score of four-under 69 — good enough for a tie for fourth.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 4, 2019
2. The defending champ is cruising
Dustin Johnson has won twice at Kapalua since 2013, and as defending champ, he was also the odds-on favorite to win again this week. One round in, and Johnson is already looking like a solid bet after carding seven birdies and one bogey en route to a 67.
“First round of the year, I’m pretty pleased with it,” Johnson said. He’s currently tied for second.
“I’m happy with it (his play) so far … But it can get better, though.” ?
3. Kevin Tway leads with a flawless scorecard, but Gary Woodland made more birdies
After punching his ticket to Hawaii by winning the Safeway Open, Kevin Tway, the 30-year-old son of former Tour pro Bob Tway, is in the TOC field for the first time and shot a bogey-free opening round of 66 to lead the tournament by a shot over Gary Woodland, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.
Woodland went on a birdie barrage with eight red numbers on his card on Thursday, but two pesky bogeys derailed what could have been a tournament-leading round. Instead, he settled for a 66 — one shot back of Tway’s lead. Woodland made headlines earlier this week for his move to Wilson Golf.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 3, 2019
4. The reigning Player of the Year has some work to do
Brooks Koepka found himself in an unfamiliar position on Thursday evening: the bottom of the leaderboard. The reigning Player of the Year made five bogeys and a double to finish at three over par and one shot ahead of only two players: Keegan Bradley and Satoshi Kodaira. Bradley will be the first player out on Friday at 10:05 a.m. local time, 3:05 p.m. ET.