Johnson plays wrong ball, records his first over-par round at Kapalua
Sentry Tournament of Champions Notebook
After playing the wrong ball on No. 4 that led to a double-bogey 6, Sentry Tournament of Champions defending champion Dustin Johnson shot his first over-par round at the Plantation Course on Friday.
Johnson, making his ninth appearance here, finished with a 1-over 74 to finish at 5-under 141.
One shot behind leader Kevin Tway after 18 holes, he enters the weekend in a tie for 12th.
After his tee shot on the par-4 fourth landed in the rough, Johnson played the wrong ball — a mistake he discovered after reaching the green. He needed to go back and play the correct ball, and while he completed the hole in three shots, a drop and two-stroke penalty for the incorrect ball resulted in a double bogey.
Johnson arrived this year with a scoring average of 69.00 over 31 rounds here (the 2013 event was limited to three rounds due to weather).
He won last year by eight strokes after finishing at 24-under par. His worst score at Kapalua before Friday was even-par 73, twice — in the third round of 2011 and the final round in 2014.
Voice of Kapalua
Kanoa Leahey is enjoying his role as the official starter at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
The television play-by-play voice for University of Hawaii men’s and women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball, is in his second year as the man who introduces the golfers on the first tee.
“This requires you to yell a lot louder than you do when you’re just announcing a game into a headset,” said Leahey, who also does numerous college basketball assignments for ESPN. “No microphone, so it tests the vocal chords a little bit more than even calling a game with a big crowd or something like that. But, yeah, golf itself is sort of a different animal. There’s a different pace to it and different environment.”
As a Maui resident for the last few years, Leahey added, “I really have felt privileged the last couple of years to be participating in this. To be a part of this event is just an awesome, awesome thing, especially with how good the field is this year. It’s been pretty awesome just to get the opportunity to see up close these guys teeing off and whacking it a mile.”
Hitting them all
Ian Poulter reached every green in regulation on Friday, but needed 33 putts on his way to a 4-under 69.
He is in a tie for eighth at 6-under 140.
Sony Open field set
The deadline to enter next week’s Sony Open came at noon on Friday, and 23 of the 33 golfers competing here are set to play in the PGA Tour’s first full-field event of the year at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.
The Sony field will also include nine past champions of that event: Jerry Kelley (2002), Vijay Singh (2005), Zach Johnson (2009), Johnson Wagner (2012), Russell Henley (2013), Jimmy Walker (2014 and 2015), Fabian Gomez (2016), Justin Thomas (2017) and Patton Kizzire (2018).
The 10 players competing at Kapalua who will not be in the Sony field are Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Jon Rahm, Aaron Wise, Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari and Billy Horschel.
Kevin Na was expected to be in the Sony field, but he has decided not to play after breaking a pinky finger that forced him to withdraw from the Sentry event before teeing off on Thursday.
The Tournament of Champions features seven of the top eight in the Official World Golf Ranking, while the Sony will have just two of the top 10 — No. 4 Thomas and No. 5 Bryson DeChambeau. Six of the top 20 in the OWGR will be in the Sony field.
“It is a good one, but I enjoy seeing different golf courses and playing different places. I think you get a couple practice rounds and you should know it pretty well. Sometimes knowing a golf course too well can be a detriment because you know where the trouble is and you’re focusing on the places not to hit it. And so to be fresh at a golf course sometimes isn’t a bad thing.”
— Rory McIlroy, on his first impression of the Kapalua Plantation Course