POSTED: 12:15 p.m. HST, Jan 6, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 7:48 p.m. HST, Jan 6, 2011
KAPALUA, MAUI >> Jonathan Byrd and Carl Pettersson took advantage of ideal conditions today to share the first-round lead at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Both fired 7-under 66s to set the tone for the 33 golfers who teed it up at the famed Plantation Course, which played much easier after an early-morning rain doused the greens and the trade winds stayed away. Only two golfers didn't break par.
Byrd and Pettersson hold a one-shot lead over Ben Crane (67) and are up by two on Bill Haas, Charley Hoffman and Jim Furyk, who all carded 5-under 68s.
Earlier in the day, two-time defending champion Geoff Ogilvy withdrew from the winners-only event because of a cut he suffered on his right index finger late Monday afternoon.
The Australian said in a release today that he tripped in shallow water and grazed his finger on a reef. The cut required 12 stitches and is causing him discomfort to bend or place any pressure on the finger.
"I do not feel as though I can make a full swing without making some compensation to both my grip and to the way in which I would normally swing a golf club," Ogilvy said in a statement. "Therefore I do not believe that I can play anywhere near to my full capabilities and would not be doing justice to the event by competing."
Ogilvy will still earn $53,000 in unofficial money, but will not receive any FedEx Cup points.
Ogilvy's fellow Australian Stuart Appleby, who won this tournament three consecutive times, is one of six golfers tied for seventh at 4-under 69. That group includes Anthony Kim, who overcame a double bogey on the front, and Matt Kuchar, the leading money winner on tour in 2010.
For Byrd, he was 7 under after 10 holes, but managed only one birdie over the final eight holes. His best finish here was a tie for sixth when he shot a final-round 63. It appeared he was headed in a similar direction before going cold over the closing holes.
"From there (No. 10) on (it) got a little shaky," Byrd said. "I didn't play great for about a three- or four-hole stretch, and then made a good birdie at 15 and played solid coming in."
Pettersson caught Byrd with a birdie at the par-5 18th. Like Byrd, this is his fourth start at Kapalua. He is hopeful he can keep it going over the next three days, but figures the wind is going to blow hard at some point over the weekend.
"Actually, the last time I was here there was one day like this," Pettersson said. "You've still got to do it, but yeah, it's definitely not like the other times I've been here where it's blowing 20, 25 (miles per hour). I actually think it's a difficult golf course when the wind is blowing."