Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, J.J. Spaun atop Tournament of Champions

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KAPALUA, Hawaii — Jon RahmHe is getting used to the low scoring on Kapaluas Plantation Course. He can only hope that this will lead to a better finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Rahm, who was 33-under par but finished second last year, birdied three of the last four holes to record a 9-under 64. He shared the lead on Thursday with Collin MorikawaAnd J.J. SpaunIt was a beautiful start to the year.

Morikawa started the back nine with six consecutive birdies, his longest streak of such success on the PGA Tour. Spaun had four straight birdies at the back, his longest streak on the PGA Tour, and only one complaint.

He said, My feet hurt. Its a long, tiring walk, even though it can seem like a short course.

Cameron SmithLast year, he won at 34-under, a PGA Tour record to be par, in a week of very little wind. The trade win, which, like most Maui players, was on vacation on Thursday, will decide if the week is set for more scoring records.

Rahm was not buying whether Kapalua owes one to him.

Rahm stated, I cant make that case on a lot golf courses. Rahm said, I cant really say much. I shot 33 under. I was beaten by 34 below. Its what it is. Both of us played great golf. It was a great game. We will see if we can get to that point again. If so, Im hoping its me and hopefully I win by one.

The Plantation Course is in excellent shape.

Morikawa is one of 10 players who didnt win last year, but still managed to get into the Tournament of Champions. The bold new PGA Tour schedule of higher tournaments — the prize this week is $15,000,000 — has seen the Kapalua field expand to include anyone who has reached the Tour Championship.

Two-time major champion is determined fix his shortcomings. He hired Stephen Sweeney, a putting coach, and turned to a former player. Parker McLachlinfor his assistance with his short game.

Morikawa stated, I just have answers. It was almost like it was guesswork before I put it. Although I may have putted well today, I thought I was doing something. In reality, it was something else.

He had everything he needed Thursday, and it helped to see a 20 foot putt drop early. He then made six consecutive birdies, only two of which were under 10 feet.

Tom KimTwo eagles were scored by him, one holing out at 116 yards on downhill sixth hole, and the other drilling fairway metals to 5 feet on the Par-5 15th. He was 65 yards behind.

Jordan SpiethHe was up to his high-wire act and missed a 2-foot par putt on the first hole. He also missed a 2-foot putt on the second hole. He also missed a 2-foot putt on the 16th green, and he holing a flop shot out of the collar of a bunker to save par. He finished with a 67.

Billy HorschelThe 39-man field was the only one that failed to surpass a 76.

Masters champions were among those who attended 66 Scottie Scheffler, who can make it back to No. A third-place finish would make him the No. 1 athlete in the world. Tom HogeWho has a busy travel schedule?

Hoge played college-level golf at TCU. Hoge earned his Kapalua spot for the first-time. Next week, he will be on Oahu for the Sony Open, which will be approximately 5,000 miles. Hoge stated that hell be leaving Maui Sunday night for Los Angeles to view the Horned Frogs national championship match against Georgia, before returning to Honolulu.

Hoge stated that we havent won since 1938. I might not get another opportunity in my lifetime.

Xander SchauffeleHe won at Kapalua in 2019, but lost in a playoff in 2019. He managed to scratch out a 70 while addressing a back issue that first appeared a month ago at the Hero World Challenge in Bahamas. He doesnt know whats wrong. However, he cant swing very hard.

Schauffele stated, Im 29 years old and Hero was like my first like issue. So this is new to me. Thats why these questions are so difficult for me to answer. This is something I have never done. We hope to have these conversations less often.

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