POSTED: 05:54 p.m. HST, Jan 06, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 06:40 p.m. HST, Jan 06, 2012
KAPALUA, Maui >> A new PGA Tour season began with a familiar name atop the leaderboard at Kapalua.
Defending champion Jonathan Byrd ran off six straight birdies early in his round Friday and opened with a 6-under 67. That gave him a one-shot lead in the Tournament of Champions on a breezy, splendid afternoon.
Byrd hasn’t won since his playoff victory a year ago in the season opener. He’s trying to become the third player in the past eight years to win in consecutive years at Kapalua.
Steve Stricker, Webb Simpson, Martin Laird and Michael Bradley opened at 68.
The winners-only field has only 27 players, the fewest since it moved to Kapalua in 1999. Lucas Glover had to withdraw because of a sprained knee from a paddleboard accident.