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Langley First-Round Leader of Sony Open
PGA Tour rookie Scott Langley fired an 8-under 62 to rise to the top of the leaderboard through 18 holes of the Sony Open, a $5.6 million PGA Tour event that began Thursday at Waialea Country Club in Honolulu.
The Missourian carded six birdies and an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole for a flawless scorecard in his PGA debut, forging a one-shot lead over fellow rookie Russell Henley and two over Scott Piercy and Tim Clark.
When asked whether he'd just shot one of the best rounds of his short competitive career, the 23-year-old Langley answered, "As a pro, yeah, yeah, probably. To go bogey-free the first event as a full member of the Tour, you know, I was pretty nervous starting out, and kind of settled down after three or four holes, made some nice birdies early, and kind of got me in a nice rhythm for the day.
"Yeah, just looking back at all my rounds professionally thus far, this might be the best one. It was nice coming," added Langley, who earned his Tour card by advancing through Q-School at the end of 2012.
Piercy, who won last year's Canadian Open for his second Tour title, had three birdies on the front nine and three more on the back. The Las Vegas native said the conditions were quite a bit different Thursday than in last week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions, which experienced three days of high winds that forced the first two rounds to be played Monday and the final round of the abbreviated, winners-only tournament on Tuesday.
"The wind wasn't even blowing today compared to last week," said the 34-year-old Piercy. "You know, I just played solid today, hit it in a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, made two fairly key putts and took care of the par 5s. I hit a really good shot into 11, which got me to 5 under and made birdie there. I hit it about 18 inches. So that was a really good one."
Clark, one of the outspoken opponents of the proposed ban on anchored putters by the USGA and R&A, also had a fine round that listed six birdies. "Obviously, a great way to start the year," said the 37-year-old South African. "Not a whole lot of expectations coming down, but I always enjoy the start of the year. I love coming out here to Hawaii. It's just such a great place, and obviously a course that I really like and have played well at in the past. For me it's just a great way to get the year started."
Jeff Overton and Stephen Ames both shot 65s, with Overton carding six birdies and a bogey. The 29-year-old Indianan, who's seeking his first victory on the PGA Tour, hopes his play Thursday bodes well for the upcoming season. "I'm really excited about - I don't think I've ever shot this low here, never played real low here," he said.
"But it's been weird because I should play good here because all the other courses that are extremely windy I generally play good on because I'm kind of a low spinner. But I think I was a lot more prepared this year, stayed down in Florida, bought a house down in Florida, and spent my off season down there and just been working out, got a new trainer, and just been a lot more prepared, I think, to start the year."
Ten players had 66s, while another 10 posted 67s on the par-70, tree-lined Waialea course. Defending champion, Johnson Wagner, opened with a 1-over 71. The winner in last week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Dustin Johnson, shot a 70.
For complete scoring, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.