Morikawa Leads by 2 at Waialae With 65

Collin Morikawa has family in Hawaii and obviously he feels right at home.

Morikawa, from La Canada Flintridge and the University of California, posted a bogey-free, 5-under-par 65 to take a two-stroke lead over four players in windy conditions in the first round of Sony Open in Hawaii, which was halted by darkness with several players till on the course at Waialae Country Club on the outskirts of Honolulu.

“Obviously, I played very well,” said Morikawa, who tied for seventh in the Sentry Tournament at Kapalua on Maui last week. “I didn’t drive the ball all that well with the crosswinds, but got lucky with some of my lies in the rough. But I hit my irons very well and made the putts I had to make.

“It obviously helped to play last week, it helped me get ready for this, but the fairways here are about half the width of Kapalua. I’m feeling relaxed and to have family and friends around obviously make me more comfortable.

“But there’s a lot of golf left to play.”

The 22-year-old Morikawa, who earned his trip to the winner’s only event at Kapalua last week by capturing the 2019 Barracuda Championship for his first PGA Tour victory, birdied four of the last 10 holes—capped by a seven-foot putt while finishing on the ninth hole.

Ryan Palmer, the 2010 Sony champion, and Matt Jones of Australia both birdied the last two holes to shoot 67 and are tied for second with Ted Potter Jr. and Sam Ryder, who both closed with birdies on the ninth hole.

Brendan Steele of Idyllwild in the Southern California mountains and UC Riverside, totaled 68 and is tied for sixth with Pat Perez of San Diego, Patrick Rodgers of Stanford, Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia, Marc Leishman of Australia, Tim Wilkinson of New Zealand, Brian Harman, Corey Conners of Canada, Brendan Todd and Cameron Davis of Australia.

Defending champion Matt Kuchar totaled 69 and is in a tie for 16th that includes 2009 Sony champion Zach Johnson, while two-time Sony winner Jimmy Walker shot 70 and is in a tie for 31st that includes 2018 winner Patton Kizzire.

Fifth-ranked Justin Thomas, who won at Kapalua last week and won both Hawaii tournaments in 2017, is tied for 63rd at 72.

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