Straka, Hovland, Kim, Morikawa atop Hero World Challenge

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NASSAU, Bahamas — Sepp StrakaHe was at home in Alabama, preparing for a week of big golf matches at his club and a friends marriage. And then Tiger WoodsStraka was unable to play in the Bahamas due to a foot injury and had to make a change of plans.

It worked out for him.

Woods replacement managed six birdies in Albany, rain-soaked Albany, for a 3-under-69 that earned him a share at the Hero World Challenge with the defending champion Viktor Hovland, Tom Kim Collin Morikawa.

Straka was the first to leave the pro-am, a time that is usually occupied only by Woods. He was paired together Justin ThomasWoods is the most common opponent in the first round of a match with,

Did he get any other information from the tournament host, or did he get something else?

Straka said that the iron game was not as good as his but it may have rubbed off on him a bit. So yeah that was nice.

Hovland was also the only player to reach 4 Under at any point prior to a bogey in the 16th. Woods is his only competitor to Hovland in this holiday event.

Hovland will be staying with Morikawa once again. Morikawa held a lead of five shots and needed to win to become No. He was ranked No. 1 in the world after he shot 76 in his final round. Hovland came back with a 66 to win.

Kim, a rising star from South Korea at 20 years old, has already won twice on the PGA Tour. He also delivered on a large stage in the Presidents Cup. He began his week by meeting Woods for a first time. He said, I have to pinch myself a bit, and then he went bogey free at Albany.

The course scores low on average, except for rain which left feet-deep puddles at some sandy areas. This made chipping difficult due to tight lies on soggy grass.

Kim was a master at short game. Kim was in the front bunker of the par-3 17th hole and he clipped the shot with such speed that it measured 3 feet from the hole.

Cameron YoungHe was just inches away from an ace on the hole. He smiled at his father, and said, Hes allergic too bogeys.

Young, the PGA Tour rookie champion and one among seven newcomers to the elite 20-man field, shot a 71. He was also one of eight players who broke par.

Straka is the only player who has never played in a Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup at Albany. He is No. He is No. 29 in the world. He was a winner at the Honda Classic earlier in the year and had no intention of going to the Bahamas.

He is a Shoal Creek member, and this week was the week of club matches against Greystone. J.T. PostonOn Friday, a two-time tour winner, will be getting married. Saturday was the big day, as Georgia took on LSU in Atlanta.

He was about to tee-off Monday afternoon to prepare for the matches when he received a call to inform him that Woods had plantar fasciitis and would not play.

Straka, who was born in Austria, moved to Valdosta in Georgia at the age of 14 and has a natural ability to switch seamlessly between German, Southern, and Southern speech.

He stated, Its a huge opportunity and it was just awesome to be there.

Masters champion Scottie SchefflerHe had a 72. To get back to No. To be No. 1 in the world, he must win.

Woods was still present at the tournament, spending time in the television booth. Since the Open Championship in July, he has not played.

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