HONOLULU — Zach Johnson and Chris Kirk kept clean cards on a gorgeous day and each shot 7-under 63 Thursday to share the lead after the first round of the Sony Open.
Jordan Spieth wasn't as fortunate.
Spieth hit four trees with four shots on the par-4 eighth — his 17th of the round — an episode that began with his tee shot caroming off a trunk and into a ditch. He wound up with quadruple-bogey 8, marring his eight-birdie round en route to 69.
Defending champion Justin Thomas opened with 67, but he was all smiles on the 17th hole. The Alabama alumnus won a bet involving the college football national title game that required Georgia graduate Kevin Kisner to wear a Crimson Tide jersey from the tee box to the green.
Spieth declined media requests after he signed his card, instead taking 15 minutes to sign autographs.
Kirk played bogey-free along the shores just up the road from Waikiki Beach and had an early one-shot lead over Vaughn Taylor, Kyle Stanley and Talor Gooch among the early starters at Waialae Country Club.
Thomas, who broke the PGA Tour's scoring record last year, played in the afternoon.
Kirk had only one top 10 last year — his final event of the year in the RSM Classic — and nearly two months off didn't appear to halt any momentum. He might have been rusty, but not when it comes to island life.
Because of the chilly weather in the South, Kirk brought his family out to Oahu a week ago Monday. He practiced a little in the morning at Ko Olina and hung out with his wife and children in the afternoon. He realized how little golf he had played during the short offseason when he reached into his bag and found golf balls that he had marked for the final round at Sea Island.
"I've probably been off long enough that you never know what's going to happen," he said. "I really had no expectations whether I was going to play good or bad. But this is a golf course that I've traditionally done pretty well on, and a place that I really love. So you always feel like it's possible."