American professional golfer, Davis Milton Love III made a early lead at the Sony Open like Thursday. Love hasn’t competing for nearly two months, the last month he even couldn’t feel grass under his feet. But on Thursday, his good performance let us feel like he'd never been away from the game.
Love played bogey-free in more wind than he was expecting at Waialae, making birdie on his last hole for a 5-under 65 that put him into a four-way tie for the lead among early starters with defending champion Zach Johnson, Ryan Palmer and PGA Tour rookie Troy Merritt. Love said, “It’s a nice way to start the year”. The relative calm on Oahu during practice rounds gave way to swaying of palm trees at sunrise along the shores of Waikiki, providing tough conditions for the morning.
Johnson, playing in the same group with Love, made seven birdies over his final 11 holes to join him atop the leaderboard.
The biggest surprise was Merritt, the wire-to-wire winner of Q-school last month who'd never played in a PGA Tour event. Merritt felt the butterflies on the first tee, then played like a veteran. Merritt said, “Things went way better than I thought”
Johnson had no idea that he inspired another player to get off to a calm start. Palmer was looking for something to read earlier in the week when he came across an article about Johnson that dealt with taking golf one day at a time. He didn’t look at leaderboards or worry about the weekend until he signed for his 65. Palmer said, “Best start in my seven-year career”. Johnson followed his own advice. Asked if this was the start of an encore from a year ago, he quickly replied, “No.””I’m trying to forget about those results from last year. I’m trying to remember the positive vibes …. Some of the feelings that I'd with my shots,”. Johnson said. “But if I dwell in the past too much, I usually start backing up in the wrong direction”.
Fowler opened with a three-putt double bogey from 8 feet and wound up with a 75. Masters champion Angel Cabrera hit wedge into the par-5 ninth, with a strong breeze at his back. Finished with a birdie to join the group at 68 that included Pat Perez. Love again needs another big start to the year to get into the Masters. He played so much last year that he felt like he was spinning his wheels. The end came after he withdrew at Disney after one round.
With cold weather in Sea Island along the Georgia coast. His vacation to the slopes, he couldn’t wait to get on grass. After checking into the hotel at Waialae on Saturday night, he rushed out to the 11th green in twilight and began putting.
Of all the practising he did in his garage, it was his putting that left him curious. Love, however, decided to give each putt one read and hit it like it was a pro-am round. He was pleasantly surprised to see so many of them go in.
Love was optimistic. He was anxious about competing. He said, “Once I got it going, once I got under par …. I’ve been out here a long time. You don’t forget.”