The ocean views along the golf course seem to suit Adam Svensson from Canada.
A year after winning the PGA Tour in the Bahamas, Svensson finished his rookie round on Thursday with a 10-foot birdie throw on his last hole for a 9-under 61 record and a lead of 39 a shot. the Sony Open.
"Everything was unclear," said Svensson. "I do not even remember what holes I made the bird."
Add an eagle too, a 6 iron on the ninth of a-5 that he grabbed thin and hoped to be able to empty the bunker. He did better than that, rolling at 5 feet. But it was nine o'clock in the back as the wind began to subside along the coast just west of Waikiki Beach, where the 25-year-old Canadian made his decision.
It all started with a 50-foot birdie putter on the 11th hole. He struck at 2 feet on the 12th, made an 18-foot birdie on the 13th and finished with a 10-foot bird on the 14th. Svensson has had the lowest career of his career.
He shot 61 during his time at Barry University, where he won the Jack Nicklaus Award in 2014 as Division II player of the year.
His only significant victory as a professional was the second edition of last year on the Web.com Tour in the Great Abaco Classic Bahamas. He maintained his position in the top 25 of the list of winnings the rest of the year to reach the PGA Tour.
Andrew Putnam shot a 62 in the morning and seemed hard to beat until Svensson arrived.
It was the first time Putnam was playing against Waialae all week because of a bee sting and it did not seem to bother him. He birdied half of his holes, none of them, and took only 23 putts to get the lowest score of his career on the PGA Tour.
Putnam had a four-shot lead among the novice players. At the end of the day, Matt Kuchar had a score of 63 and 75 players in the 144-man group were under par.
WATCH | Highlights of Svensson's memorable run:
That did not include Jordan Spieth, who made his debut in 2019 with a bit of rust, and it shows. He had to wait for his 16th hole, the seventh par 3, to make his first birdie of the year. And that's all he did in the 73rd of the end of the season.
He still managed to keep it entertaining, especially with the new rules.
Spieth, like most players, does not understand the visually delicate change of moving from knee height to shoulder height. Six holes in his round, his tee shot came close to a few inches from a sprinkler head. He called for a decision and was relieved because of the risk of injury or club damage. Then he did what he did all his life at golf: he held the ball at his shoulder.
Slugger White, vice president of the competition for the tour, stopped him. If he had dropped and played the shot, it would have been a penalty. Otherwise, he could have come down from the right height.
"I'm like, 'Would not it be just a new fall anyway?' What's the problem?" Spieth said. "It's unusual."
He was surprised to drop shoulder height behind the 18th green. He also put his finger on the opening hole with the flag in the cup, another change that is the subject of much attention at the beginning of the year. And he hit a leading edge in the line of a 4-foot putt.
"In total, I have tested most of the new rules today," he said.
Justin Thomas, who set the PGA Tour's 72-hole record at the Sony Open two years ago, started with a 67, playing the last five holes tied – a birdie, three consecutive bogeys and a bunker shot for eagle. .
Putnam, among the 23 players who were in Maui last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, made it all simpler. It's his third year playing at the Sony Open, so the course is not new to him. But it is unusual for him not to at least participate in a practice round.
He was by the pool Tuesday when the bee stung him.
"I could not walk and therefore had to withdraw from the prosam," he said. "I was just sitting all day yesterday and I could not even shoot a shot, Yeah, a little weird how it went."
He shot his 62 despite a bogey at the 15th hole when his throw went up 12 feet and that he missed the putt.
Putnam did not miss much in the first round. Statistically, he made just over 174 feet of putts, from a leading foot to the last hole (his shortest putt to the birdie) to his longest birdie from the 14th to just under 30 feet.
"The hole was very big and the ball was coming in," he said. "It was fun."