Svensson fires first-round 61

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Canadian rookie leads Putnam by one stroke, Kuchar by two at Sony

By DOUG FERGUSON

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — Ocean views along the golf course seem to suit Adam Svensson.

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 at Waialae Country Club 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, a 6-iron on the par-5 ninth that he caught thin and was hopeful would clear the bunker. It did better than that, rolling out to 5 feet. But it was the back nine, as the wind began to calm, 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 from right of the green on the par-5 18th gave Svensson the lowest round of his professional career.

He did shoot a 61 while at Barry University, where he won the Jack Nicklaus Award in 2014 as the Division II player of the year.

His only significant victory as a pro was the second event last year on the Web.com Tour at the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic, and he held his position in the top 25 on the money list the rest of the year to reach the PGA Tour.

Andrew Putnam shot a 62 in the morning and looked tough to beat until Svensson came along.

It was the first time Putnam had played Waialae all week because of a bee sting, and it apparently didn’t bother him. He made birdie on half of his holes, none of them tap-ins, and took only 23 putts for the lowest score of his PGA Tour career.

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 today just to make it to the weekend.

Putnam, among 23 players who were on Maui last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, made it all look so easy. This is his third year playing the Sony Open, so the course is not new to him. But it’s unusual for him not to at least get in a practice round.

He was poolside Tuesday when the bee stung him in the foot.

“I couldn’t walk, so I had to withdraw out of the pro-am,” he said. “I was just sitting around all yesterday and couldn’t even hit a shot. Yeah, kind of bizarre how it all worked out.”

PGA Sony Open

Thursday’s First Round

At Waialae Country Club, Honolulu

Adam Svensson 31-30–61 -9

Andrew Putnam 30-32–62 -8

Matt Kuchar 31-32–63 -7

Chez Reavie 31-34–65 -5

Hudson Swafford 32-33–65 -5

Shugo Imahira 33-32–65 -5

Brandt Snedeker 32-34–66 -4

Jason Dufner 31-35–66 -4

John Chin 35-31–66 -4

Brian Stuard 32-34–66 -4

Michael Thompson 32-34–66 -4

Ted Potter, Jr. 32-34–66 -4

Cameron Smith 34-32–66 -4

Jim Knous 32-34–66 -4

J. Rodriguez 31-35–66 -4

Rikuya Hoshino 33-33–66 -4

Matt Jones 34-33–67 -3

Sam Ryder 33-34–67 -3

Joel Dahmen 34-33–67 -3

Patton Kizzire 33-34–67 -3

Brian Gay 34-33–67 -3

Davis Love III 34-33–67 -3

Marc Leishman 35-32–67 -3

Justin Thomas 31-36–67 -3

Wes Roach 33-34–67 -3

Eric Dugas 34-33–67 -3

Julian Etulain 35-32–67 -3

Dylan Frittelli 35-32–67 -3

Harris English 35-33–68 -2

Sam Saunders 34-34–68 -2

Abraham Ancer 35-33–68 -2

J.T. Poston 35-33–68 -2

Kelly Kraft 35-33–68 -2

Russell Henley 35-33–68 -2

Russell Knox 34-34–68 -2

Patrick Reed 34-34–68 -2

Rory Sabbatini 34-34–68 -2

Carlos Ortiz 32-36–68 -2

Ryan Blaum 37-31–68 -2

Y.E. Yang 33-35–68 -2

Scott Brown 32-36–68 -2

Keith Mitchell 34-34–68 -2

Johnson Wagner 33-35–68 -2

Trey Mullinax 34-34–68 -2

Si Woo Kim 34-34–68 -2

Stewart Cink 34-34–68 -2

Kevin Tway 33-35–68 -2

Keegan Bradley 34-34–68 -2

Anirban Lahiri 33-35–68 -2

Corey Conners 33-35–68 -2

Sebastian Munoz 34-34–68 -2

James Hahn 36-33–69 -1

Vaughn Taylor 35-34–69 -1

Jerry Kelly 33-36–69 -1

Jamie Lovemark 34-35–69 -1

Luke Donald 34-35–69 -1

Pat Perez 34-35–69 -1

Jimmy Walker 33-36–69 -1

B. DeChambeau 34-35–69 -1

Jim Herman 35-34–69 -1

Josh Teater 35-34–69 -1

Roger Sloan 34-35–69 -1

Sepp Straka 35-34–69 -1

Martin Trainer 35-34–69 -1

Chris Kirk 35-34–69 -1

Sean O’Hair 34-35–69 -1

Colt Knost 31-38–69 -1

Kevin Kisner 33-36–69 -1

Cameron Champ 34-35–69 -1

Ian Poulter 35-34–69 -1

Hideki Matsuyama 33-36–69 -1

Charles Howell III 34-35–69 -1

Chase Wright 34-35–69 -1

Stephan Jaeger 34-35–69 -1

Yuki Inamori 34-35–69 -1

Fabian Gomez 34-36–70 E

Scott Langley 31-39–70 E

John Huh 37-33–70 E

Tom Hoge 35-35–70 E

Brice Garnett 34-36–70 E

David Hearn 36-34–70 E

Danny Lee 35-35–70 E

Hank Lebioda 35-35–70 E

Ollie Schniederjans 35-35–70 E

Sung Kang 35-35–70 E

Mackenzie Hughes 32-38–70 E

Emiliano Grillo 32-38–70 E

Nick Taylor 33-37–70 E

Troy Merritt 36-35–71 +1

Zach Johnson 33-38–71 +1

Jonas Blixt 37-34–71 +1

Scott Piercy 35-36–71 +1

Bubba Watson 36-35–71 +1

Michael Kim 34-37–71 +1

Gary Woodland 33-38–71 +1

Robert Streb 36-35–71 +1

Roberto Diaz 35-36–71 +1

Joey Garber 35-36–71 +1

Sam Burns 37-34–71 +1

Kyoung-Hoon Lee 37-34–71 +1

Brady Schnell 36-35–71 +1

Dominic Bozzelli 36-35–71 +1

Steve Stricker 35-36–71 +1

Satoshi Kodaira 36-35–71 +1

Brandon Harkins 36-35–71 +1

Sungjae Im 36-35–71 +1

Whee Kim 34-37–71 +1

Adam Long 38-33–71 +1

Talor Gooch 38-33–71 +1

Takumi Kanaya 35-36–71 +1

Wyndham Clark 35-36–71 +1

Kenny Perry 37-35–72 +2

Ryan Armour 37-35–72 +2

Adam Scott 35-37–72 +2

Brian Harman 35-37–72 +2

Shawn Stefani 37-35–72 +2

Seamus Power 37-35–72 +2

Peter Malnati 35-37–72 +2

Chris Thompson 37-35–72 +2

Yuta Ikeda 36-36–72 +2

Tyler Duncan 35-37–72 +2

Paul Casey 36-36–72 +2

Max Homa 36-36–72 +2

Brent Grant 33-39–72 +2

Ben Silverman 36-36–72 +2

Jared Sawada 37-35–72 +2

Kyle Stanley 38-35–73 +3

Adam Hadwin 37-36–73 +3

Jordan Spieth 36-37–73 +3

Ben Martin 36-37–73 +3

Cameron Davis 37-36–73 +3

Kyle Jones 36-37–73 +3

Alex Prugh 38-35–73 +3

Steve Marino 38-36–74 +4

Seth Reeves 36-38–74 +4

Adam Schenk 37-37–74 +4

Patrick Rodgers 37-37–74 +4

Andrew Landry 37-37–74 +4

Nicholas Lindheim 38-36–74 +4

Sangmoon Bae 34-41–75 +5

Vijay Singh 38-37–75 +5

Kramer Hickok 37-38–75 +5

J.J. Henry 37-39–76 +6

Peter Jung 44-40–84 +14