Justin Thomas certainly didn’t have a letdown after winning the SBS Tournament of Champions last Sunday.
The 23-year-old Thomas eagled his first and last holes on Thursday and became the seventh, and youngest, player in PGA Tour history to shoot 59 to take a three-stroke lead over Hudson Swafford after one round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.
Thomas carded his only bogey on the 11th hole, his second of the day, and collected eight birdies in a stretch of 10 holes through No. 4 while posting his 11-under-par round in the morning wave.
“I was pretty calm,” said Thomas, who sank a 15-foot eagle putt on his final hole, No. 9. “It’s odd, because you never have a putt this big on Thursday or Friday. I didn’t know how to react, with a fist-pump or what because there are three days left. I’ve been rolling the ball well, got a good read and just rolled it in.
“I’m playing well and I just have to ride it out. I have to realize why I’m playing well and keep doing the same things. It was an unbelievable day and I think I’m going to go to the beach, relax and have a nice dinner, get some sleep and try to go our and shoot another low round tomorrow.”
Thomas, who played alongside good friends Jordan Spieth and Daniel Berger, joined Al Geiberger (1977), Chip Beck (1991), David Duval (1999), Paul Goydos (2010), Stuart Appleby (2010) and Jim Furyk (2013) as the only players in PGA Tour history to shoot 59. Duval, 27 at the time, was the only other player to do it in his 20s.
Furyk also went one better and set the tour record with a 58 last year in the Travelers Championship.
Swafford birdied six of the last eight holes while finishing his 62 and Rory Sabbatini of South Africa sank a five-foot eagle putt on the ninth hole en route to a 63 that put him in solo third.
Russell Henley, who won the Sony Open in 2013, Gary Woodland, Tony Finau, Russell Knox of Scotland, Cameron Smith of Australia, Jamie Lovemark, Billy Hurley III and Shawn Stefani were tied for fourth at 64.
Spieth and Berger both carded 65s and were in a tie for 12th, while defending champion Fabian Gomez was tied for 74th after a 69.
–Story courtesy of The Sports Xchange, TSX Golf Editor Tom LaMarre