KAPALUA, Hawaii — A brand new 12 months, the identical previous Scottie Scheffler.
The world’s No. 1 participant had eight birdies and an eagle Friday for a 9-under 64 at The Sentry, giving him a one-shot lead going into the weekend on the PGA Tour’s season opener.
Low scoring on the Plantation course at Kapalua has come to be anticipated. Even with the Kona wind out of the wrong way, it hasn’t been robust sufficient to maintain the 59-player subject from attacking at will.
“It is a type of locations in the event you go on the market and play nicely, you are going to get rewarded,” Scheffler mentioned. “For those who begin not hitting it in the appropriate spots, you will get in hassle. Simply obtained to maintain the pedal down.”
That is what Hatton did, regardless of how drained he feels. He mentioned it took him simply over 25 hours to get from London to Maui, partly as a result of a mechanical delay on prime of his three-hour layover in Los Angeles. He wasn’t feeling his greatest, and never simply from the lengthy flight.
After which he turned in a 62, his lowest spherical as a professional.
“Perhaps a shock to do it within the second spherical again to start out the 12 months, after how lengthy I’ve had off,” Hatton mentioned. “I would not say I sorted myself within the December interval — perhaps that performed a small half. Yeah, so the physique hasn’t been shifting nicely. I am certain in the event you had seen a number of the flight tracers of a few of my tee photographs, you’d be disgusted.”
He attributed the 62 to a “mad day on the greens,” and that was capped by an eagle putt from slightly below 100 ft from off the inexperienced on the par-5 closing gap.
Hatton had just one par (and one bogey) on the again 9.
Todd had a 30 on the entrance 9 and a strong end for a 64, whereas Im had a 66. FedEx Cup champion Viktor Hovland made an eagle putt from simply over 50 ft on the closing gap for a 67 that left him two photographs again in a bunch that featured Collin Morikawa (67), Chris Kirk (65) and Byeong Hun An (64).
An is amongst seven gamers at Kapalua who’ve by no means received on the PGA Tour. The event was just for winners from the earlier 12 months, and now could be expanded to incorporate anybody who completed among the many prime 50 within the FedEx Cup.
Scoring has been so good — no completely different from the earlier two years — that Jordan Spieth had a 67 to remain inside three photographs of the lead, shrugged and mentioned, “Simply common.”
Certainly, the typical rating was 67.4 on Friday. All 59 gamers broke par.
Scheffler, after all, was hardly a shock. He had among the finest statistical years on the PGA Tour final 12 months — within the non-Tiger Woods division — which performed an enormous half in him being voted PGA Tour participant of the 12 months for the second straight time.
He ended final 12 months by successful in opposition to the elite, 20-man subject on the Hero World Problem within the Bahamas. And right here on Maui, he is holed sufficient birdie putts and made some 6-footers for par alongside the way in which to maintain momentum.
For Scheffler and in addition to he hits the ball, there is no such thing as a scarcity of alternatives.
“I performed actually strong,” he mentioned. “The few instances I obtained into hassle I obtained out fairly fast and hit some good pitches and a pair good putts as nicely.”
Hatton, Todd and Im had already set the goal when Scheffler reached the scoring a part of the again 9 and the Texan took benefit. He holed a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 12, hit wedge up the hill to eight ft on the thirteenth, drove into the bunker on the reachable 14th and blasted out to 2 ft and made it 4 straight birdies with a wedge he clipped completely to six ft.
The Kona wind made the 667-yard 18th play all of that, although it’s downhill with a quick fairway. Scheffler hit 5-iron to the inexperienced on Thursday, and the wind brought about him to hit 3-iron on Friday.
” 3-iron,” he mentioned.
“It is a ton of enjoyable to play,” Scheffler mentioned. “It is undoubtedly the place everyone desires to start out their 12 months. Loads of fairways are actually vast, however a few of them do not play practically as vast as they’re. You have to hit good photographs, form the ball alternative ways and do lots of completely different stuff to be able to play nicely out right here.”
DIVOTS: Todd is a part of one among many gamers who switched caddies this 12 months. He’s utilizing Paul Tesori, whom Cameron Young fired on the finish of final 12 months. Younger now has Wayne De Hass, who caddies at Seminole Golf Membership and has labored often for Ernie Els on the PGA Tour Champions. … Hatton and Brian Harman are going to the Sony Open subsequent week, after which straight from Honolulu to Dubai for a European tour occasion.