It’s a new year but it seems there is more of the same in store on the PGA Tour with both Jordan Spieth and Jason Day firing unblemished rounds at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
The top-ranked Spieth fired a bogey-free seven-under-par 66 at Kapalua’s undulating plantation course while Day carded a three-under 70 in his return to tournament golf.
With a victory in the season-opening event, Day can usurp Spieth from the top of the rankings in the pair’s ongoing jostle for golf supremacy.
But first the Australian needs to rein in defending champion Patrick Reed, who claimed the outright first-round lead with a sizzling 65 to be one shot ahead of Spieth, who ominously insisted this week there’d be no encore in 2016 because his show’s not over.
Reed, though, stole the spotlight on the first day of the new season with six birdies and an eagle three on his final hole after smashing a three-wood to 15 feet.
“I didn’t think I could get it all the way to the green,” Reed said.
“I thought if I smoked it, I’d get to the front edge and it just happened to ride the wind a little bit and kind of just kept on going.
“And once it gets on that green, I know it’s going to just keep feeding.”
Reed hasn’t won since he rallied to win at Kapalua a year ago, though he hasn’t been far off, ending last year with six top-10s in five countries.
Spieth is hot on his countryman’s heels after carding seven birdies in a flawless round.
Fellow Americans Brandt Snedeker and JB Holmes and Kiwi Danny Lee all shot 67, while Argentine Fabian Gomez posted a 68.
Australian Steven Bowditch took Australian honours by a shot from Day, who was rusty but not unproductive in his first competitive round since the Presidents Cup in October.
In ideal scoring conditions, Day didn’t make a birdie until the ninth hole but added another two coming home.
Only seven players from the 32-man field of PGA Tour winners last year failed to break par.
One of them was Dustin Johnson, a past winner at Kapalua, who had to birdie the 18th for a 73.