|After two disastrous appearances at the Sony Open, Jimmy Walker rebounded to take the early lead yesterday. (Eric Risberg/Associated Press)|
K.J. Choi is accustomed to starting strong at the
Jimmy Walker usually expects the worst when he comes to these shores.
The former Nationwide Tour player of the year suffered a serious neck injury at the Sony Open in his rookie debut three years ago. Walker returned the next year and shot 80. A reluctant return to Waialae helped erase some bad vibes, as Walker was among three players at 65 on a day of low scoring and no wind.
That Choi was atop the leaderboard was no surprise. He also opened with a 64 last year and wound up in a tie for fourth. It was a continuation from last week at the Mercedes-Benz Championship, where Choi was in last place until closing 69-69.
"I'm getting back to my rhythm," he said.
Heath Slocum, who teamed with Boo Weekley for a runner-up finish at the World Cup in China over Thanksgiving, and Stephen Marino joined Walker at 65. The group at 66 included Mercedes winner Daniel Chopra, Chad Campbell, and Rory Sabbatini.
Tadd Fujikawa, who turned 17 Tuesday, was headed for a short week.
One year after he became the youngest player in 50 years to make the cut on the PGA Tour, Fujikawa never recovered from a double bogey on No. 2. He didn't make birdie until No. 12 and wound up with a 74, leaving him a long shot to earn his first paycheck since turning pro last summer. This is his eighth event as a pro.
"I had a rough day," Fujikawa said. "I've got to shoot a good round tomorrow to make the cut. I think I can do it. Anything is possible."
Golf Channel began its broadcast without anchor Kelly Tilghman, serving a two-week suspension for saying with a laugh last week that the best way young players could take down Tiger Woods would be to "lynch him in a back alley." She was replaced in the booth by Rich Lerner.
European PGA - In his first round as a pro, South African Tyrone Ferreira shot a 6-under 65 to share the lead with Mark Murless at the Joburg Open in Johannesburg, South Africa.