DDN Sports Golf: Henley shoots 65, takes early Hyundai lead from NBC Sports Golf Channel
knows a thing or two about playing golf in Hawaii
, and he put that knowledge to use in the opening round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions
. Here’s how things look after 18 holes at Kapalua, where Henley holds a one-shot lead:
Leaderboard: Russell Henley (-8), Sang-Moon Bae (-7), Robert Streb (-6), Ben Martin (-6), Scott Stallings (-6), Patrick Reed (-6), Jimmy Walker (-6)
What it means: Henley stormed to victory two years ago at the Sony Open in nearby Oahu, and he once again went low Friday to pace the field of 34 winners. With relatively benign winds, players were able to pounce on the Plantation Course, with 11 scores of 5 under or better.
Round of the day: Henley started quickly in the opening round, with a birdie on the opening hole and five birdies across his first seven holes. After making the turn in 31, he added three more birdies on the inward half to post a bogey-free 65, the lowest first-round score at this event since 2003.
Best of the rest: Bae is battling visa issues in his native South Korea but didn’t appear affected during an opening 66. Bae birdied five holes in a row from Nos. 4-8 to quickly move to the top of the leaderboard, a position he occupied for much of the day thanks to a round that included eight birdies against just one dropped shot.
Biggest disappointment: Billy Horschel has the FedEx Cup trophy on the shelf back home, but he has struggled somewhat to get out of the gates in the new season. That trend continued Friday for Horschel, whose 1-under 72 left him seven shots back and ahead of only three players in the field.
Main storyline heading into Saturday: With two wins to his credit, Henley certainly knows how to play with a lead, and his penchant for birdies in bunches will likely carry into the weekend. But the chasing pack is an established one, with players like Reed, Walker and the defending champ Zach Johnson (68) still very much in contention.
Shot of the day: Ben Martin was just short of the par-5 18th green in two shots, then watched as his 15-yard chip shot rolled down a tier and found the hole. The unexpected eagle lifted Martin to a 6-under 67 in his first competitive round on the Plantation Course.
Quote of the day: "Today was good. Not every day you’re going to hit the putts correctly and just how you want to, but I did that today." - Henley
2nd Round coverage begins tomorrow 1PMET/10AMPT on Golf Channel