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

  • Gavins triumphs in dramatic Ras Al Khaimah Championship finale after twice finding water Gavins triumphs in dramatic Ras Al Khaimah Championship finale after twice finding water

    Daniel Gavins recovered after twice finding the water on the 18th hole to clinch a dramatic one-shot victory at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship on Sunday.

    Gavins began the final round two shots behind leader Zander Lombard, but the Englishman moved ahead with a run of five successive birdies immediately after bogeying the first.

    Two strokes separated Gavins from the pursuing Alexander Bjork ahead of the final hole, where the leader initially appeared to have thrown the title away in remarkable circumstances.

    Gavins drove into the water and did likewise with his approach, before pulling a 26-foot putt out of the bag to finish with a double bogey and leave him waiting anxiously on his competitors.

    Bjork put himself out of the running with a bogey before Lombard missed an eagle putt to tie things up, handing Gavins his second DP World Tour victory 18 months after his first – which came at the ISPS Handa World Invitational in August 2021.

    Speaking after the dramatic finish, Gavins said: "I am pretty speechless. I thought I had [thrown it away]. I put two in the water and thought 'that's one way to end the tournament'.

    "I've been struggling off the tee the last two weeks and it's not a very nice tee shot to have on 18, even with a lead.

    "It was a difficult hole to get through and to be fair I thought I was holing that putt for a play-off. I didn't realise Bjork had made bogey.

    "I sunk the putt and went to the back of the green and saw that I was actually winning still. It was kind of a big shock." 

    Bjork and Lombard were tied for second on 16-under-par, while Adrian Meronk and Thorbjorn Olesen finished one shot behind the duo in a share of fourth.

    Twin brothers Rasmus and Nicolai Hojgaard began the day in contention, but the former finished 14-under and the latter dropped off to finish three shots further back. 

  • Malnati takes lead into fourth day as third round suspended for wind at Pebble Beach Malnati takes lead into fourth day as third round suspended for wind at Pebble Beach

    Play at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am was suspended shortly after midday Pacific time (PT) on Saturday after strong winds, but not before Peter Malnati had taken a two-shot lead.

    The decision was taken to suspend play at all three courses in the interest of fairness, with the winds so strong that balls on the ninth green at Monterey Peninsula Country Club would not stay still.

    It had been hoped the third round could resume at 2pm PT, but it was soon confirmed that play had been suspended for the day, with the third round to resume at 8am PT on Sunday.

    Malnati was playing his third round at Pebble Beach Golf Links, and carded six birdies and six pars from his 12 holes before play was suspended, taking him to the top of the leaderboard heading into Sunday on 12 under par overall.

    Joseph Bramlett (after 13 holes) and Keith Mitchell (after 10 holes) sit tied for second on 10 under, with the former struggling after a good start.

    Bramlett – also playing at Pebble Beach on Saturday along with former footballer Gareth Bale as his amateur – was three under for the round from his first eight holes, before bogeying three of the next five, albeit with birdies on the other two.

    The leaders from the first two rounds, Hank Lebioda and Kurt Kitayama, are tied fourth on nine under, with Leboda one under for the round after 11 holes at Spyglass Hill Golf Course, while Kitayama is even par after nine holes on the same course.

    Winds reportedly reached 40mph on Saturday, and the suspension means play is likely to go into Monday.

    Mitchell had words of praise for his amateur team-mate, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, saying: "The guy was out practicing in the rain and the wind this afternoon when everybody was inside. I can’t imagine him not showing up [tomorrow]. The weather's better tomorrow morning than in Buffalo right now, I can promise you that."

    Another NFL star, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, heads the amateur leaderboard on 25 under par, which is made all the more impressive considering his pro, Ben Silverman, is two over. The duo lead Malnati and FedEx president Don Colleran by three shots.

  • Gareth Bale shows off impressive golf skills at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Gareth Bale shows off impressive golf skills at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

    Former Tottenham and Wales legend Gareth Bale produced one of the top highlights from the amateur ranks while playing at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

    Bale, 33, retired from professional football in January after spending six months with MLS club LAFC.

    Playing in his first PGA Tour event, Bale was partnered with Korn Ferry Tour Championship winner Joseph Bramlett, who he said he met around a year ago and has kept in contact with since.

    "We met about a year ago and we have just been speaking over the year," he said. "I said to him last week 'let's prepare for this week' – he had a great week last week, and what a player.

    "He is a world-class player. Just watching these players play, you can learn things and how they go about their business and how they do their process.

    "It is just nice to watch and pick up things, their demeanour, their focus. It is different from what we were used to, but it is similar to my profession. We have similar traits, so fantastic playing with him today."

    Bramlett is enjoying a terrific start to the tournament, tied for second at eight under through two rounds as he seeks his first PGA Tour victory, but he gave Thursday's shot of the day to Bale for his miraculous up-and-down off the cart path.

    "I am more worried about how I found myself [on the path] in the first place, but I guess a lot of amateurs find themselves in that position," Bale said.

    "It was a great shot and I just tried to play into the bank and hope for the best like most amateurs do.

    "It was nice to see it roll up nice and close, and he was pretty much in for par so I was like 'I will pick it up' and [Bramlett] made me putt it because he was like 'this is going to be the greatest up-and-down'."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.