Chris Kirk came out with a blistering first round 7 under 63 in the opening round of the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu on the big island. Kirk began with a story book start to his week, carding a bogey free round to take the lead. Later in the day however, Zach Johnson would match Kirk’s pace as he shot a 63 of his own. Johnson went out in 31 and birdied his first three holes of the day. Kirk and Johnson sit tied at the top heading into the second round on Friday.
Zach Johnson of the United States stands on the 17th green during round one of the Sony Open In Hawaii at Waialae Country Club on January 11, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
A rather unknown or unheard name is giving chase to the co-leaders just one stroke back. Taylor Gooch turned pro in 2014 after graduating from Oklahoma State University. Gooch finished in the top 10 five times last year and had his only career win on the Web.com Tour at the News Sentinel Open. This could be the launching pad of Gooch’s young career, as he is chasing a past British Open Champion Zach Johnson. A top 5 or top 10 finish could be a breakout performance for Gooch and land him spots in more competitive tournaments.
Another recent Web.com Tour graduate, Wesley Bryan sits at two under par for the tournament after a rather quiet round. Justin Thomas is continuing to play good golf but no where near the caliber that he was playing at this time last year. Thomas shot a bogey free 67 as he sits in T20. Jordan Spieth had a bit of a crazy round on Thursday. Spieth managed a one under 69 after making a quadruple bogey on the par four eighth hole. Brian Harmon continues to play competitive golf as he cards a 6 under 64 just one back from the leaders.
There are a lot of talented golfers in the field this week including; Sangmoon Bae, Ollie Schniederjans, Daniel Berger, James Hahn, Kevin Kisner and Marc Leishman. Everyone, just like Taylor Gooch, are looking for the one victory to set their 2018 season in motion. It will just take one breakthrough performance to jumpstart the season for one player. As we saw with Jordan Spieth at the John Deere or Xander Schauffele last year. Will a familiar face breakthrough or will a Taylor Gooch look to make himself a household name?
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