Harman moves clear at Sony Open in Hawaii

ASSOCIATED PRESS           Zach Johnson had seven birdies and no bogeys during the first round of the Sony Open on Thursday

ASSOCIATED PRESS Zach Johnson had seven birdies and no bogeys during the first round of the Sony Open on Thursday

Two-time major victor Zach Johnson rolled in a five-foot birdie putt at the 18th on Thursday (Friday in Manila) to seize a share of the first-round lead at the US PGA Tour Sony Open in Hawaii.

His ball seemed destined to scuttle well beyond the hole, which fortunately got in the way and acted as a backboard, the ball disappearing for an unlikely birdie with the PGA Tour confirming it was his longest successful putt on the circuit.

Spieth's quadruple misery World number two Jordan Spieth dropped back late with a quadruple-bogey eight at his penultimate hole-the par-four eighth.

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 of 253, could not conjure up that same magic, instead carding a three-under 67, four strokes behind the leaders. Thomas, an Alabama alum, won a bet on the college football championship that required Georgia graduate Kevin Kisner to wear a Crimson Tide jersey on the par-3 17th. After making his only bogey from a bunker on the par-3 seventh, Harman hit 7-iron from 172 yards to 15 feet on No. 9 for a closing eagle.

"I've probably been off long enough now that you never know what's going to happen", said Kirk.

The three-time major champion, who is riding a string of six consecutive top-10 finishes and had been installed as the favorite a week after a ninth place finish at Kapalua, declined to speak with the media following his round. "I considered hitting a lob wedge because I had something like 30 yards to the hole into the breeze". "That's just a personal thing for me". "I really had no expectations whether I was going to play good or bad after having some time off".

His drive on No. 8 was not terribly offline, and the trees to the left are a common spot. He studied his options. For his third shot, he had a gap toward the front of the green (the pin was back left), but out of a fluffly lie, the ball came out high and hit more trees, bouncing left and settle near another tree.

Waialae is at sea level - waist-high hedges along the 16th and 17th holes and behind the 11th green are all that separate grass from the beach - with smaller, flatter greens and fairways framed by trees. He only got the first part right. He had a look at eagle on the par-five 18th, where he holed a two-footer for birdie.

In Hawaii, of all places.

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