Sony Open: Collin Morikawa defies tough conditions to fire opening 65
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 10/01/20 3:31pm
Collin Morikawa coped admirably with fierce winds on the first day of the Sony Open as a five-under 65 earned him the outright lead in Hawaii.
Morikawa admitted he enjoyed several "lucky breaks" after some errant drives at the at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, but he took full advantage of his good fortune and made five birdies while keeping a bogey off his card.
When play was suspended due to darkness with five groups still on the course, Morikawa was sitting pretty in the clubhouse with a two-stroke lead over Matt Jones, Ted Potter Jnr, Sam Ryder and Ryan Palmer as only 30 players managed to break the par of 70.
"I didn't hit my driver that well but other than that it was really good," Morikawa told Golf Channel. "There were a lot of crosswinds out here. You've got to hit fairways and I didn't do a great job of that today.
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"I got some lucky breaks with where I was in the rough. I didn't make a lot of putts but made the ones I needed to for birdie. Over the next few days, I have to hit a few more fairways and we'll be good from there."
Masters champions Zach Johnson and Patrick Reed were among the players to shoot sub-par opening rounds as both carded impressive 69s along with the likes of Matt Kuchar and Sweden's Alex Noren.
Russell Knox is the leading British challenger on level par, one ahead of former US Open champion Graeme McDowell, while pre-tournament favourite Justin Thomas endured a torrid first day and did well to salvage a two-over 73.
Thomas, winner of last week's Sentry Tournament of Champions and a Sony Open winner in 2017, bogeyed three of the first five holes before clawing one back at the long ninth, and although he dropped two more shots on the back nine, birdies at 15 and 18 lifted his spirits.