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5 top the board at Sony Open

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    Vijay Singh teed off on the 8th hole at the Sony Open on Thursday at Waialae Country Club.


    Chad Campbell hit out of the rough on the first hole during Thursday’s first round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.


    Ricky Barnes smiles as he approaches ball on 13th green.


    Brandt Snedeker walked behind his caddy to the 17th hole after teeing off at the Sony Open on Thursday.


    Jimmy Walker shot out of a bunker on the 10th hole during the first round of the Sony Open.

After rolling in a 24-foot birdie putt on Waialae Country Club’s 18th green, Ricky Barnes looked like a good bet to close the first round in the Sony Open in Hawaii at the top of the leaderboard.

Part of the third group to tee off at No. 1 Thursday morning, Barnes was the first to sign for a 7-under-par 63 and his score indeed held up through the afternoon. But he ended the day with quite a bit of company.

By late afternoon, four more pros had joined him at 7 under, as Waialae gave the field a warm and largely windless welcome to open the PGA Tour’s annual visit.

Vijay Singh, on the front end of a two-week island stay, was next in at 63, opening his 19th appearance at Waialae with his best score in 67 tours around the course.

Morgan Hoffmann eagled the par-5 ninth to cap a 30 on Waialae’s front nine and the wind remained relatively calm for the afternoon wave, with Brandt Snedeker and Kevin Kisner, the FedEx Cup points leader coming into the week, also finishing at 7 under.

In all, 31 players shot 66 or better in the first round and even par left you in a tie for 91st in the 144-player field.

“You knew you had to get out and make some birdies,” Kisner said of seeing the scores going low in the morning. “I think the wind direction was perfect for low scoring around this place.

“I’ve never driven the green on 10 and hit 9-iron into 9, so some of the holes where you have to make birdies were very easy to make birdie and as long as you kept the ball in the fairway there were a lot of chances.”

Si Woo Kim, Zach Johnson and Charles Howell III, a perennial Sony contender, enter the second round a stroke behind the leaders, with 11 more at 65. Jimmy Walker will have some ground to cover in his bid for a third straight Sony Open title after finishing at 1 under and in a tie for 68th.

The breezes picked up slightly around midday when Barnes was making his way in with Sean O’Hair, who finished at 5 under, and 2012 champion Johnson Wagner. Barnes surged with a run of four consecutive birdies in the middle of the round, stayed bogey-free with a sand save on the par-3 17th and closed with the birdie putt on 18.

“Getting off to a good start where the wind wasn’t up on the back 9 was probably the biggest key,” Barnes said. “And then to just kind of parlay it into the back 9 with no bogeys was kind of the gravy.”

Singh, also entered in next week’s Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai to open the Champions Tour season, birdied his final two holes to drop two strokes below his previous best at Waialae, a 65 in the final round of his championship run in 2005. At 52, a victory this week would make him the PGA Tour’s oldest winner.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Singh said. “I was playing well, feeling good about my body, my swing, my mind. So I just went out there, and it was early, so I didn’t know how it (was) going to turn out. But started off well and kept it going.”

Hoffman began his morning with a bogey on the first hole, got to 2 under by the turn and closed by holing a 26-foot putt for one of 17 eagles yielded by No. 9 on Thursday.

Snedeker, coming off a third-place finish at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Maui, made himself quite at home in his first Sony Open in eight years. He missed the cut in his previous two appearances in 2007 and ’08, with a 68 his previous best.

“I had pretty high expectations because A, it’s a golf course that should set up really well for me and B, I played really well last week,” said Snedeker, who won six Tour events and the 2012 FedEx Cup since his last start at Waialae. “So I kind of felt like this would be an extension of that. Did it yesterday in the pro-am and did it today, so it was nice so see the ball-striking is staying where it should be.”

Like Snedeker, Kisner didn’t have many fond memories of Waialae coming into the week, failing to make it to Sunday in his previous four appearances. He won The RSM Classic in November and finished ninth last week at Kapalua at 16 under to remain atop the FedEx Cup standings.

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