Thomas cards 65 to share lead at Tournament of Champions

By Sports Desk January 07, 2021

Justin Thomas carded an eight-under 65 to share the lead after the opening round of the Tournament of Champions on Thursday.

Two-time champion Thomas produced a bogey-free first round that included eight birdies in Kapalua, Hawaii.

The world number three, winner of the event in 2017 and 2020, made five birdies on the front nine and three on his final five holes.

Thomas shares a two-stroke lead with Harris English in the first PGA Tour event of the year.

The highlight of English's round was an eagle at the ninth hole, where he chipped in from just off the green.

On what is a congested leaderboard, six players are tied for third at six under.

Sergio Garcia, Robert Streb, Nick Taylor, Ryan Palmer, Im Sung-jae and Patrick Reed all opened with 67s.

Garcia won the tournament in 2002, while Reed was victorious in 2015 and has two runner-up finishes since – including last year.

Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay and Brendon Todd carded five-under 68s.

World number one Dustin Johnson is back in a tie for 30th after opening with a 71, while Jon Rahm carded a 70.

Related items

  • DP World Tour 'disappointed' as LIV Golf bans are temporarily quashed for Scottish Open DP World Tour 'disappointed' as LIV Golf bans are temporarily quashed for Scottish Open

    Players on the LIV Golf roster will be allowed to compete in the DP World Tour's Scottish Open after their bans for featuring in the Saudi-backed league were temporarily stayed as their appeals are considered.

    Both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour had refused to grant waivers for players to participate in LIV Golf's lucrative tournaments, with the first two events being held in London and Portland over the past month.

    Ian Poulter has been leading the chorus of dissent from the European LIV Golf players, as the biggest names in the sport descended on Ireland's Adare Manor this week for the JP McManus Pro-Am.

    He told the media he was going to fight any restrictions that tried to keep him away from a tour he feels he has dedicated a large chunk of his life to.

    "My commitment to the European Tour has been there since day one," he said. "And it's still there today. 

    "I'm proud of playing so often, when it was to the detriment of world ranking points and FedEx Cup points I could have earned playing more in America.

    "I feel disappointed and offended that I've been suspended from playing golf on a Tour that I've played for 24 years."

    Chief executive of the DP World Tour, Keith Pelley, said the ruling does not mean players from the Saudi-funded tour will be granted full access to the European tour, but the field for the Scottish Open will be expanded to fit the LIV Golf players.

    "I will simply say we are disappointed by the outcome of today's hearing, but will abide by the decision," he said.

    "It is important to remember, however, this is only a stay of the sanctions imposed, pending the hearing of the players' appeal as to whether those sanctions were appropriate.

    "The make-up of the field for the Scottish Open will be advised in due course, but based on this decision the field size will increase beyond 156. 

    "We will make further comment on this in due course, but not during our time at Adare Manor."

  • Poston claims wire-to-wire win at John Deere Classic Poston claims wire-to-wire win at John Deere Classic

    J.T. Poston claimed his second PGA Tour win on Sunday, holding on to win the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run.

    The 29-year-old posted a two-under 69 in the fourth and final round to finish on 21-under for the tournament, three shots clear of Emiliano Grillo and the fast-finishing Christiaan Bezuidenhout, tied for second at 18-under.

    As well as qualifying for The Open Championship, Poston becomes the first player since David Frost in 1992 to go wire-to-wire at the John Deere Classic and only the third in the tournament's history along with Scott Hoch, who achieved the feat in 1980.

    Poston revealed it was not easy to remove the possibility of that achievement from his mind following his round, but with his last win coming at the 2019 Wyndham Championship, believes it is a boost for his confidence.

    "It is hard," he told CBS. "I mean, wire-to-wire, having the lead for that long, it's just hard not to think about it and think about that finish line.

    "I tried to stick to the game plan. We got off to a great start and then, kind of started to try and give some back, but I hit a lot of good shots down the stretch.

    "I was just trying to breathe. I think there were a lot of nerves, more than the first few days. I was just trying to battle through them and I think, after this week, knowing I can play with those nerves. I can still win, I can still shoot a solid score considering the pressure and trying to win out here."

    Poston started strongly, opening the round with consecutive birdies on each of the first three holes, but his momentum was halted with bogeys on the fifth and sixth holes.

    His round stabilised on the back nine, however, with a birdie on the par-five 17th effectively securing the tournament.

    Poston was able to see off Grillo and Bezuidenhout, who claimed three birdies over the closing five holes, with Christopher Gotterup and Scott Stallings finishing a further stroke back on 17-under.

  • Meronk seals historic first for Poland at Irish Open as Jerzy Dudek sends congratulations Meronk seals historic first for Poland at Irish Open as Jerzy Dudek sends congratulations

    Adrian Meronk became Poland's first winner on the European/DP World Tour after he emerged victorious at the Irish Open on Sunday.

    Meronk ultimately ended the tournament at the Mount Juliet Estate with a healthy three-shot cushion on 20 under, but that does not tell the whole story.

    Although he started the final day with a one-shot lead, he was one off the top of the leaderboard heading into his final five holes.

    Ryan Fox carded a wonderful eight-under 64 to put himself in the driving seat, reaching the clubhouse on 17 under for the tournament.

    But Meronk came on strong in the latter stages, with unlikely birdie putts coming off on the 15th and 16th to put him back at the summit, and an even more surprising eagle on the penultimate hole sealed it.

    "It's such a relief to be honest," Meronk said. "I've been coming quite close a couple of times this year, and to finally open the door, it's just a dream come true. That's why we practise every day – such a relief and so happy.

    "I'm going to keep going forward. It's another step for me. And I'm excited I achieved it here in Ireland, such a great history, and I'm just super excited. I can't describe it.

    "It was an unbelievable feeling and to hit such a good shot on the last hole, I'm super proud of myself and my caddie, and yes, super happy."

    Meronk's success also captured the attention of another famous Polish sportsman.

    Former Poland and Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek sent Meronk a personal video message saluting his historic triumph.

    "Adrian, congratulations," Dudek began.

    "You were waiting for that moment so many years. That's a first Pole on the podium in this beautiful sport.

    "You are a legend of this game. We're very proud of you. Enjoy every single moment. All the best, come on!"

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.