Putnam shoots 62, but a rookie was better at Sony Open
Adam Svensson of Canada capped off a rookie round to remember with a 10-foot birdie putt for a 9-under 61 to take a one-shot lead in the opening round Thursday at the Sony Open.
Andrew Putnam set a target in the morning that looked tough to beat with a 62. As the wind began to die late in the day, the
25-year-old Svensson ran off four straight birdies to tie for the lead, and then did one better with a tough up-and-down right of the green on the par-5
Matt Kuchar had a 63 playing in the afternoon.
Jordan Spieth was hopeful of better in his 2019 debut. 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.
He still managed to keep it entertaining, especially with the new rules.
Spieth, like most players, doesn’t understand the visually awkward change of dropping from knee-height instead of shoulder-height. Six holes into his round, his tee shot came up inches short of a sprinkler head. He called for a ruling and was given relief because of the potential of injury or damaging the club. Then, he did what he has done his entire golfing life – he held the ball at the level of his shoulder.
Slugger White, the tour’s vice president of competition, stopped him. Had he dropped and played the shot, it would have been a penalty. If not, he could have dropped again from the proper height.
“I’m like, ‘Wouldn’t it just be a re-drop anyway? What’s the big deal?’ ” Spieth said. “It’s unusual.”
He caught himself from dropping shoulder-height behind the
18th green. He also tapped in for par on the opening hole with the flagstick still in the cup, another change that is getting plenty of attention early in the year.