HONOLULU (Swing Update) – Andrew Putnam could not train at the Sony Open because of a bee sting, and he apparently did not need it.
Putnam birdied half of his holes Thursday in Waialae, none of them were touched, and had only 23 putts in a game under 62. beginners.
Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner and John Chin were 66, defending champion Patton Kizzire among those at 67.
Jordan Spieth was hoping to be better in his 2019 debut. He had to wait for his 16th hole, the seventh by three, 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 another fall anyway?' What's wrong?" Said Spieth. "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.
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."
Snedeker found it a little more pleasant once he had started his turn. He was not under normal until a birdie was caught at the turn of the 18th, and he shot 32 in front, which is usually the side a little harder.
It's the same state, a different island, but the course can not be different from that of last week. Kapalua was built on the side of a mountain, with huge greens and big ripples. Waialae is an old school, flat and lined with palm trees, with smaller greens.
"They are faster and much more flattering," Snedeker said. "The biggest break you'll see here is maybe a pause on a putt." Last week, if you had something under your feet, you'd be excited. "