Navigation

Rookie fires 61 to grab Sony lead

The Associated Press

Adam Svensson chips onto the 18th green during the first round of the Sony Open on Thursday.

The Associated PressHONOLULU (AP) — Ocean views along the golf course seem to suit Adam Svensson of Canada.

A year after his victory in the Bahamas that paved his way to the PGA Tour, Svensson capped off a rookie round to remember Thursday with a 10-foot birdie putt on his final hole for a 9-under 61 and a one-shot lead in the Sony Open.

“It was all a blur,” Svensson said. “I don’t even remember which holes I birdied.”

Throw in an eagle, too, a 6-iron on the par-5 ninth that he caught thin and was hopeful would clear the bunker. It did better than that, rolling out to 5 feet. But it was the back nine, as the wind began to calm along the shores just west of Waikiki Beach, where the 25-year-old Canadian made his move.

It started with a 50-foot birdie putt on the 11th hole. He hit it to 2 feet on the 12th, holed an 18-foot birdie on No. 13 and finished his run with a 10-foot birdie on the 14th. A tough up-and-down from right of the green on the par-5 18th gave Svensson the lowest round of professional career.

He did shoot a 61 while at Barry University, where he won the Jack Nicklaus Award in 2014 as the Division II player of the year.

His only significant victory as a pro was the second event last year on the Web.com Tour at the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic, and he held his position in the top 25 on the money list the rest of the year to reach the PGA Tour.

Andrew Putnam shot a 62 in the morning and looked tough to beat until Svensson came along.

It was the first time Putnam had played Waialae all week because of a bee sting, and it apparently didn’t bother him. He made birdie on half of his holes, none of them tap-ins, and took only 23 putts for the lowest score of his PGA Tour career.

Putnam had a four-shot lead among the early starters. By the end of the day, Matt Kuchar had a 63, and 75 players from the 144-man field were under par.

That did not include Jordan Spieth, who made his 2019 debut with a little rust, and it showed. He had to wait until his 16th hole, the par-3 seventh, for his first birdie of the year. And that was all he made in a round of 73 that left him needing a low round just to make it to the weekend.

Speech

Click to play

0:00/-:--

+ -

Generating speech. Please wait...

Become a Premium Member to use this service.

Become a Premium Member to use this service.

Offline error: please try again.