Jan. 14—Two of the three first-round co-leaders at the Sony Open in Hawaii continued to set the pace Friday. The one who didn't was the one you'd least expect.
Two of the three first-round co-leaders at the Sony Open in Hawaii continued to set the pace Friday.
The one who didn't was the one you'd least expect.
The PGA Tour's final wraparound season has started the new year in Hawaii with not one, but two stunning collapses.
Last week it was Collin Morikawa losing a seven-shot lead on the final day of the Sentry Tournament of Champions. This week's winner at Waialae Country Club has yet to be decided, but it won't be three-time major champion Jordan Spieth, who followed up an opening-round 64 with a 5-over 75 to miss the cut by one shot.
"Just a really off day, " Spieth said.
All four golfers in the first full-field event of 2023 ranked in the top 20 of the World Golf Ranking failed to reach the weekend.
None was more shocking than Spieth, whose round spiraled out of control beginning on No. 8 when he three-putted for bogey.
His drive on No. 9 landed in the water for a penalty and he took two shots from the same bunker on 10.
He made it four bogeys in four holes with a missed 8-footer on 11, and another miss from roughly the same distance on 15 dropped him another shot.
When his putt for birdie on 18 slipped left off the hole, he just barely knocked it in with the back of his putter and walked off the green disturbed after becoming the first player since Matt Every at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March 2020 to go from first-round lead to missing the cut the next day.
"Yeah, this sucks, " Spieth said. "I've never led a tournament and missed the cut before. It's not like I would have replayed anything that I (did ). I made a bad swing, didn't really make any bad decisions. Just got the ball in the wrong spots at the wrong places."
World No. 14 Tom Kim (72-69—141 ), No. 18 Billy Horschel (72-71—143 ) and No 19 Sungjae Im (71-71—142 ) also missed the cut of 2 under, leaving defending champion Hideki Matsuyama the highest-ranked golfer remaining in the field at 3 under.
Chris Kirk rattled off birdies on his first three holes and shot 5-under 65 to take a one-shot lead at 11 under over fellow first-round leader Taylor Montgomery and J.J. Spaun.
"I felt good going into today, and after playing really well yesterday you want to come out and hit some solid shots and kind of ease into it, " Kirk said. "I did not ease into it at all. Really nice putt I made on 1, and then a couple of pitching wedges on 2 and 3 I hit pretty close."
A four-time winner on the PGA Tour, Kirk has come close twice in Hawaii, finishing runner-up at Waialae in both 2014 and'21.
Two years ago, Kirk shot a final-round 65 to retain his PGA Tour membership with a second-place finish. After he took a break from golf to deal with depression and alcoholism issues, Waialae was the final start of his medical extension.
He's finished in the top 40 just once in six tournaments this season but has shot 66 or better in nine of his past 10 rounds at the Sony.
"I've felt really good about the way my swing has been this week, " Kirk said. "I've driven the ball for the most part pretty well. Hit a lot of really quality iron shots and wedge shots. Didn't quite make as many putts today as yesterday, maybe, but I feel like I'm rolling the ball really nicely."
Montgomery continued his stellar play he's held for the entirety of his rookie season. Placing in the top 15 in six of his seven events coming into the Sony, the 27-year-old Las Vegas native birdied five of his first 10 holes to shoot a 4-under 66.
Montgomery said he had never seen the course until Monday.
"It suits my game. You've got to drive it really well here and it's short, " he said. "I feel like my chipping and putting and driving has been very consistent."
Spaun, wearing his shirt untucked, which sparked some conversation on social media when he did it last week on Maui, shot a 6-under 64 to get to 10 under.
He had a share of the lead going into his final hole, the par-5 ninth, which is playing the easiest on the course. He hit his drive right into the water for a penalty and had to settle for his only bogey of the round.
"Just one bad swing. You kind of are supposed to give some back at some point, right ?" Spaun said. "I'm in a good spot going into tomorrow and the weekend. I would love to keep things going the way they are. I think I scrambled pretty nicely and I putted really good, I think."
Play was suspended due to darkness, with only one golfer remaining on the course.