Dustin Johnson has added three birdies to his morning count of six and now leads Brandt Snedeker and Steve Stricker by one shot at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Johnson, who opened with a 4-under 69 in this morning’s opening round, has birdied Nos. 5, 9 and 12 in Round 2 and is 7 under overall with five holes to play.
Stricker eagled No. 18 (his 9th) and is 4 under for the afternoon, the best score on the course. He is looking to defend his title at Kapalua.
Snedeker, the reigning FedExCup champion, has rebounded from his two afternoon bogeys with birdies to stay within one shot of the leader.
Keegan Bradley (-5) and Bubba Watson (-4) round out the top 5.
The third and final round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions is scheduled to begin Tuesday at 7:15 a.m. HT (12:15 p.m. ET) and Golf Channel will be there bringing you live action.
Coverage from Kapalua begins Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET and will run through 6 p.m. ET. The live coverage will be preceded by an hour-long Golf Central Pre Game and followed by a 30-minute Golf Central to recap the day's action. A replay of the final round will be aired starting at 6:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.
After spending two days as a spectator, Dustin Johnson
finally got to tee off at Kapalua on Monday and he made the most of his season
Johnson carded six birdies, including one on his closing hole, to cap a 4-under 69 that left him tied with Nick Watney and Mark Wilson after 18 holes of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
The first round had been halted and washed out each of the previous two days but conditions were stable enough Monday to allow the 2013 PGA TOUR season to get under way.
“I only missed one green and in this wind, that's pretty good,” Johnson said between his first and second rounds on Monday. “Drove it pretty well, too. Just it's really tough once you get on the green. I had three 3‑putts, but other than that, I played really solid.”
Johnson has a history of thriving in less-than-stellar weather conditions. Two of his six PGA TOUR victories have come in events shortened to 54 holes. After 36 holes on Monday and a final 18 on Tuesday, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions projects to be a 54-hole event.
Dustin Johnson had a share of the first-round lead once morning play concluded at Kapalua. (Petersen/Getty Images)
By Ann Miller for PGATOUR.COM
KAPALUA, Maui — When the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions finally ended Monday, 74 hours after it began for the first time at Kapalua’s Plantation Course, three golfers shared the lead.
Dustin Johnson, Mark Wilson and Nick Watney -- thanks to an eagle on the final hole -- all shot 4-under 69s to surge to the top of the wind-blown leaderboard.
The West Maui gusts, which delayed the start of the 2013 PGA TOUR season from Friday to Monday, finally dropped to a playable level on the day this event was scheduled to end. They were a sustained 20-30 mph to start the day and began to pick up just before the second round started at noon local time.
Golfers went out from 7:10 a.m. and defending champion Steve Stricker struck the final first-round shot of the 30-man field at 12:45 p.m.
Officials hope to get 36 holes in Monday and finish the tournament Tuesday with 18 more holes. It will be only the third time this tournament, which started in 1953, has been cut to three rounds. This is the TOUR’s first 54-hole tournament since the 2011 Barclays, won by Johnson. Actually, he has won the TOUR’s last two 54-hole events, also taking the 2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Johnson, who won last year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic to get here, was the first to reach 4 under Monday, with four birdies on the back nine. Johnson missed just one green in regulation, but had three three-putts on greens slowed to make the wind-blown course more user-friendly.
Wilson joined him with a bogey-free round that saw him settle for par on all the par-5 holes. Later this week, he will try to win his second Sony Open in Hawaii in three tries.
“It was a good start,” Wilson said. “Just kind of trying to be patient with the wind and hitting some weird clubs with different yardages and stuff. I played conservative.
“I made some nice par putts early on in those tough holes on the back nine that get most of the wind and just made birdies on par-4s and stuff, and didn’t birdie the par-5s. So I’m looking forward to this afternoon.” His playing competitor was Ben Curtis, who was 5 over after two holes before Sunday’s round was scrapped. Curtis turned in a 3-under 70 Monday, on his third attempt at the first round.
Watney, making his debut with Nike gear and equipment, drained a 68-foot eagle putt on the 18th to join the first-place tie. Curtis shared fourth with Rickie Fowler, Carl Pettersson, Bubba Watson and Brandt Snedeker. Stricker was another shot back, joining Keegan Bradley, Ian Poulter, J.J. Henry, Charlie Beljan and Bill Haas.
The field played the Plantation more than a stroke under par (71.967), with all but six players at par or better. In contrast, the field was 41-over par in the 126 holes played — and wiped out by the wind — Friday and Sunday.
U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson, who was 3 under after seven holes Friday, opened with a 1-under 72 thanks to a double bogey on the 13th.
NOTE: If the Hyundai Tournament of Champions ends after 54 holes, it would be the 27th 54-hole event on the PGA TOUR since 1990. A look at the last five 54-hole events on the PGA TOUR (with Dustin Johnson winning the last two):
2011 The Barclays (Dustin Johnson)
2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (Dustin Johnson)
2005 BellSouth Classic (Phil Mickelson)
2002 Southern Farm Bureau Classic (Luke Donald)
2000 BellSouth Classic (Phil Mickelson)
Rickie Fowler battled breezy conditions to card a 3-under 70 Monday morning. (Petersen/Getty Images)
By Ann Miller for PGATOUR.COM
KAPALUA, Maui — Even by Hawaiian time, it took a while for the 2013 PGA TOUR season to get going.
Monday, more than 72 hours after it was originally scheduled to start at Kapalua’s Plantation Course, Rickie Fowler finally finished the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. The 2012 Wells Fargo Championship winner had a share of the lead when he fired a 3-under-par 70.
Fowler three-putted the final hole (663-yard par-5), hitting an 8-iron in to reach the huge green in two shots. But he left himself 75 feet to the pin and his first putt, on greens intentionally slowed because of the wind, was more than 20 feet short.
“It was nice to finally get a round in,” Fowler said. “Hit some good shots, a few rough ones, but crazy things can happen when it’s going like this. Nice to get one in. Looking forward to getting back out this afternoon.”
Fowler finished eight holes in Friday’s weather-abbreviated start, taking double-bogey on the last to fall to 3 over. That was erased, along with his even-par score through five holes Sunday, when brutal wind gusts forced TOUR officials to halt, then erase, the rounds. Saturday’s schedule was scrapped before it began when gusts of 50 mph-plus blew.
Monday, with winds at a sustained 20-30 mph, the first 18 holes started on time and Fowler finished inside four hours. He and playing competitor Jason Dufner had about an hour before they were scheduled to go back on the Plantation for the second round.
The final round is scheduled for Tuesday, with the tournament cut to 54 holes. It is the first time since the Tournament of Champions moved to Maui in 1999 that weather has cut it short.
Fowler was last seen Sunday sitting on his golf bag in the fairway, playing the bottom like a bongo drum. When play was suspended, he characterized the weather as “almost exactly the same as Friday minus the H2O flying through the air.”
He insisted he was having fun, but Monday was much more enjoyable with conditions fairly normal for Kapalua.
Fowler shot 1-under 35 on the front nine. After a bogey on the 11th, he dropped birdie putts of five, eight and 23 feet at the 12th, 15th and 16th.
“It was nice, felt pretty calm out there actually from the winds that we’ve seen,” Fowler said. “Nice to get out. The greens are a little slow just to make it playable and keep the ball on the green. Had a few come up short but it was fun.”
Now that all players are on the course Monday in what appears to be a first round that will actually count at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, here are a few early observations:
> Ian Poulter posted a drive of 426 yards at the 420-yard par-4 12th hole. Poulter's tee ball landed in the rough, right of the green. He then pitched to 7 feet but missed his birdie attempt. Poulter was even par through 13 holes
> Is it any surprise that Dustin Johnson is in contention? He currently is the tournament leader at 4 under through nine holes. Of Johnson's six career PGA TOUR wins, two of them have been in 54-hole shortened events.
> Also, is it any surprise that Mark Wilson is in contention? Maybe. Or maybe not. He's currently shot a shot back, 3 under through 12 holes. All five of Wilson's PGA TOUR wins have come in the first three months of the season -- including a 2011 wins at the Sony Open in Hawaii, which starts on Thursday. But he hasn't fared all that well at the Plantation Course -- he's never finished better than a tie for 18th in three previous starts in the limited-field event. Monday's set-up, however, has shortened the course significantly, which plays better into Wilson's game.
> Webb Simpson was 3 under through 7 holes on Friday before that score was wiped out. Starting on the 10th hole in Monday's first round, he hasn't managed to duplicate that fast start. He's even par through 14 holes, with a double bogey at the par-4 13th (he found trouble off the tee) canceling out his two birdies.
> Rickie Fowler and Jason Dufner, the first group out of the first tee, were on pace to finish their rounds in approximately 3 hours, 50 minutes.
> Kyle Stanley, making his first appearance in this event, had a tough start, dropping four strokes in his first four holes, including a double bogey at the 12th when he was forced to take a penalty stroke after an errant tee shot.
> In his opening nine holes, FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker rolled in four birdie putts at a cumulative link of less than 8 feet. But on the 10th hole, Snedeker showed why he ranked first in strokes gained-putting last year, rolling in a putt of 35 feet, 3 inches. That moved Snedeker to 3 under.
> Keegan Bradley's rollercoaster round consisted of four birdies, three bogeys and five pars in his first 12 holes.
Three times since Friday, Rickie Fowler has stood on the first tee box at Kapalua's Plantation Course and hit what he thought was the first official tee shot of the 2013 PGA TOUR season.
Hopefully, Monday's tee shot at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions will be the last time he needs to do it.
With scores wiped out on Friday and Sunday due to unfair wind conditions, Fowler's tee shots did not count. So there he was again on Monday morning in Maul, launching another drive down the first fairway.
Here's a look at each of his shots (all photos by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR).
MONDAY'S TEE SHOT AT NO. 1 (counts ... for now)
SUNDAY'S TEE SHOT AT NO. 1 (doesn't count)
FRIDAY'S TEE SHOT AT NO. 1 (doesn't count)
Will Monday finally be the day that the Hyundai Tournament of Champions officially gets started? Keep your fingers crossed.
After three days of tortuous winds at Kapalau's Plantation Course, the 30 golfers in the field are starting anew on Monday, with players now on the course. The goal is to play 36 holes on Monday, and 18 holes on Tuesday for a 54-hole tournament.
Groups are playing off both tees today. Webb Simpson, who started his round off the 10th tee, birdied his first hole.
Of course, twice before the tournament has started, only to see high winds blow balls off putting surfaces and force a complete wipeout of the scores.
The forecast for Monday looks better, however.
Here are the TV and radio times for Monday's action at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions
TV: Golf Channel
3-4 p.m. ET (10-11 a.m. Hawaii time): Golf Central PreGame
4-11 p.m. ET (11 a.m.-6 p.m. Hawaii time): Live coverage of Hyundai Tournament of Champions
11-11:30 p.m. ET (6-6:30 p.m. Hawaii time): Golf Central
11:30 p.m.-6:30 a.m. ET (6:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Hawaii time): Replay coverage of Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Radio: SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
5-11 p.m. ET (11 a.m.-6 p.m. Hawaii time): Live coverage