HONOLULU — Ocean views along the golf course seem to suit Adam Svensson of Canada.
A year after his victory in the Bahamas that paved his way to the PGA Tour, Svensson capped off a rookie round to remember Thursday with a 10-foot birdie putt on his final hole for a 9-under 61 and a one-shot lead in the Sony Open.
“It was all a blur,” Svensson said. “I don’t even remember which holes I birdied.”
Throw in an eagle, too, on the par-5 ninth. But it was the back nine, as the wind began to calm along the shores just west of Waikiki Beach, where the 25-year-old Canadian made his move.
It started with a 50-foot birdie putt on the 11th hole. He hit it to 2 feet on the 12th, holed an 18-foot birdie on No. 13 and finished his run with a 10-foot birdie on the 14th. A tough up-and-down on the par-5 18th gave Svensson the lowest round of professional career.
Andrew Putnam had a four-shot lead among the early starters. By the end of the day, Matt Kuchar had a 63, and 75 players from the 144-man field were under par.
That did not include Jordan Spieth, who made his 2019 debut with a little rust, and it showed. He had to wait until his 16th hole, the par-3 seventh, for his first birdie of the year. And that was all he made in a round of 73 that left him needing a low round just to make it to the weekend.
Justin Thomas, who set the PGA Tour’s 72-hole record at the Sony Open two years ago, opened with a 67 by playing the last five holes in even par — a birdie, three straight bogeys and holing a bunker shot for eagle.