Honolulu • Sang-Moon Bae got off to a great start in pristine conditions along the shores of Oahu. Chris Kirk had an ideal finish.
They were together all Thursday morning, playing in the same group at the Sony Open and taking the top two spots on the leaderboard. Bae played bogey-free for a 7-under 63. Kirk shot 29 on the back nine at Waialae, including an eagle on the last hole, for a 64.
Sang-Moon Bae -7
Chris Kirk -6
Brian Stuard -5
Ryan Palmer -5
Daniel Summerhays -4
Mike Weir +3
They were among the early starters in the first full-field event of the year on the PGA Tour, and they took advantage of a gorgeous day.
Their better-ball score was 56.
"He was off to a great start," Kirk said. "At one point he was 4-under and I was still 2-over. It took some catching up for me on the back nine. But it’s always nice to see putts falling."
Retief Goosen, finally feeling better after missing another big chunk of the year with back problems, slept awkwardly on his neck and was sore during the pro-am. That apparently healed quickly. He was in the group at 66 with Harris English, Jimmy Walker and John Daly.
Daly and Hideto Tanihara of Japan were the only players at 66 or better from the morning group who were not at Kapalua last week for the Sony Open.
Bae opened with a 7-iron to 3 feet on the opening hole, made a 25-footer for birdie on No. 3 and didn’t miss a green until the 13th hole. He hit wedge to 15 feet to save par, and picked up his seventh and final birdie on the next hole.
Kirk had reason to believe this wasn’t going to be his day when his ball got stuck in a tree on the sixth hole and he had to scramble for bogey, already 2 over. But a shot into tap-in range on the eighth hole sent him on his way, and an eagle brought him within one shot of Bae.
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