Bogey rains on Spieth's parade at the 'Sunny' Open

Ruben Hill
January 13, 2018

Three birdies on the final four holes saw Chris Kirk take a share of the lead with Zach Johnson after the opening round of the Sony Open.

He missed two putts inside five feet and needed 30 putts in his round with two three-putts.

Harman entered the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions paired with eventual victor Dustin Johnson.

Johnson admitted that his round was a pleasant surprise, after a bout of flu cost him some pre-season practice time.

Kirk, whose most recent victory was at Colonial in 2015, said a return to his old putting routines had paid off on the greens.

The duo were one shot ahead of Vaughn Taylor, Kyle Stanley, Talor Gooch and Brian Harman. Johnson began the day with three straight birdies and didn't make any bogeys on the afternoon in his first PGA Tour start of 2018.

The American was four under with two holes to play, but he endured a nightmare on the par-four eighth.

His tee shot pulled left off the tee and collected a tree, falling down into the rough.

Peter Malnati, Daisuke Kataoka, Matt Every and Tom Hoge opened with 5-under 65s. The next also hit a tree and barely advanced while his third and fourth shots also hit trees before he finally found a greenside bunker and got up and down for an eight.

He rallied somewhat with a birdie at his final hole for a one-under par 69.

World number four Thomas had Phil Mickelson's former caddie Jim "Bones" McKay on his bag, filling in for regular caddie Jimmy Johnson, who is sidelined by plantar fasciitis.

Defending champion Justin Thomas, who a year ago opened with a 59 before going on to set the PGA Tour's all-time scoring record in a 72-hole event at 253, could not conjure up that same magic as he carded a three-under 67.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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