Jimmy Walker enjoys the more beautiful tracks on the PGA Tour circuit and few match up with Kapalua in Hawaii. On Thursday he shot an inspired 65 at the par-73 seaside layout to lead the Tournament of Champions.
‘I love the scenery,’ said the 2016 PGA Championship winner. ‘I’m a very visual person, so I enjoy looking out and watching the whales when I’m walking around. Just a pretty place… something does it for me here.’
The Texan cut his driver down to 42 inches at the end of last year to improve accuracy off the tee box, which proved valuable during his eight under par round on Thursday.
‘I just feel like I’ve got more control. I feel like the golf swing is better at that length for me,’ he said after hitting 11 of 15 fairways.
Walker’s clean sheet, with six birdies and an eagle at the fifth, gave him a two-stroke advantage over three players tied for second place.
Jim Herman and young gun Justin Thomas got to six under par by peppering their cards with birdies, while Ryan Moore joined them on the number due to eagles at the third and fifth holes.
Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama, both favourites going into the week, were tied for seventh place on four under par.
World number one Jason Day shot a respectable 70 to share 12th place, in spite of three putts on two holes.
Branden Grace shot a mediocre 73 to share 28th place and hovered near the bottom of the leaderboard, but Kapalua is known for low scoring and he can easily bounce back.