Kevin Tway got off to a roaring start in his Tournament of Champions debut, firing a bogey-free seven under 66 for one-shot lead in the PGA Tour’s first round of 2019.
Tway had seven birdies and no bogeys as the Tour winners from 2018 kicked off the new year Thursday at the Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii.
“When you’re making a lot of birdies it makes everything better,” said Tway, who qualified for this winners-only field by capturing the Safeway Open for his first PGA Tour victory. “I hit the ball well, kept the ball in play, made a few putts, controlled my ball in the wind.
“It’s windy where I’m from in Oklahoma so it’s kind of like I was at home. Each shot’s difficult so you’re just focused on the trajectory and where I need to land it and where I need to miss it.”
Tway led by one shot over Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland, who sit at six under. Johnson and Thomas are the past two winners at Kapalua.
World number eight Rory McIlroy and No. 14 Jason Day are tied for sixth at four under, while world number six Jon Rahm is tied for 11th at three under.
This is McIlroy’s debut at the TOC, and heralds the start of a year in which he’s promised to focus his attention on the PGA Tour rather than the European equivalent.
The opening round threatened to get away from him, with a birdie on the second hole only followed by one more plus a dropped shot over the next 14 holes. Three in his last four, including this effort, ensured a solid Thursday round of 69, however.
The first round of the new year featured a hole-in-one by Patton Kizzire who is at four under. Kizzire aced the par-three eighth hole for his first hole-in-one on the tour, and claimed that he: “was just trying to hit the green.”
The ever-eccentric Bryson DeChambeau gave the spectators the first example of the new rules when he made a par putt with the pin still in the cup.
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)