Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Brian Harman moves clear at Sony Open in Hawaii

Brian Harman moves clear at Sony Open in Hawaii

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.

Harman, who has four top-10 finishes in four starts in the USA tour's 2017-18 season, teed off early at Waialae in Honolulu, and opened with back-to-back birdies at the 10th and 11th.

Kirk, a four-time victor on the U.S. tour, nabbed five of his seven birdies on the back nine.

Johnson and Kirk kept clean cards playing on opposite sides of the draw and closed with different brands of birdies on the par-5 18th hole - Kirk two-putted from about 10 feet, while Johnson found a bunker, laid up and hit a wedge to 5 feet.

He failed to get up and down from there and the ensuing eight dropped him back to the pack though a birdie at his final hole, the 9th, means he is still in the tournament.

The leading duo were one stroke in front of a group of four players on a crowded leaderboard. Stanley capped his round with an eagle at the par-five ninth, rolling in a 41-footer.

Spieth hit four trees with four shots on the par-4 eighth hole - his 17th of the round - an episode that began with his tee shot caroming off a trunk and into a ditch.

Peter Malnati, Daisuke Kataoka, Matt Every and Tom Hoge opened with 5-under 65s. He rallied somewhat with a birdie at his final hole for a one-under par 69.

While Spieth was less than pleased as he left the course, Australian PGA champion Smith will be feeling confident after an opening round which saw him post six birdies.

Kirk had only one top 10 last year - his final event of the year in the RSM Classic at Sea Island - and almost two months off didn't appear to half any momentum. Grace, who is ranked 30 in the world, shares first place at seven under with American Chase Koepka.

And one tee shot that led to plenty of calamity. Of the five former Major winners in the field, South Africans Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel did best with 69s.

Defending champion Graeme Storm of England carded a 75.

Gooch rocketed out of the blocks with three straight birdies, finishing with eight birdies overall against two bogeys.

Schauffele birdied his last four holes and was among those at 8-under 132, five shots behind.

Jamie Donaldson of Wales scored the first hole in one of the tournament at 14 with a nine iron during a round of 70.

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