Adam Svensson, a PGA Tour rookie, shoots a 61 to take first-round lead


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Adam Svensson is an obscure PGA Tour rookie from Canada, who played college golf at similarly obscure Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., yet in an effort to escape obscurity took the first-round lead in the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Svensson, 25, who earned his PGA Tour membership by finishing 14th on the Web.com Tour last year, shot a bogey-free nine-under par 61 at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu on Thursday. He has a one-stroke lead over Andrew Putnam, while Matt Kuchar is in third, two off the lead.

In a six-hole stretch, the ninth through 14th, Svensson made an eagle and four birdies to make a move on the lead that he wrested from Putnam with a birdie at 18 late in the day.

Putnam, meanwhile, surrendered his pro-am round and tournament preparation to a bee sting, yet he rode a scorching putter to an eight-under 62. Putnam, 29, needed only 23 putts in his round.

“Hole was very large and the ball was going in,” Putnam said. “It was fun. Funny thing was I didn’t get a practice round out here, so I was a little bit up in the air with the speed of the greens. For some reason it just felt right.”

Putnam, who tied for 14th in the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Sunday, was poolside in Maui on Tuesday when he was stung by the bee.

“It didn’t hurt too much in the beginning, but it swelled up pretty big and I had to withdraw from the pro-am,” he said. “I could hardly walk. It was pretty crazy. I hadn’t seen the course until today. This is my first go-round. Maybe that’s my new strategy, not play before the tournament starts.”

Putnam, who won the Barracuda Championship in Reno last summer, made nine birdies and one bogey. He is off to a fast start both in his year, with this round, and his season. In his final start of 2018 at the end of October, he tied for fourth in the WGC-HSBC Champions, part of the PGA Tour’s wrap-around schedule.

Jordan Spieth, meanwhile, opened with a three-over par 73 and is in danger of missing a second straight cut. He also missed the cut in the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November.

Up-to-the-minute leader board and other scoring information for the Sony Open in Hawaii, Waialae C.C., Honolulu, Hawaii, Jan. 10-13, 2019


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