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Henley sets pace at Kapalua
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 11 - 01 - 2015

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Russell Henley had eight birdies in an eight-under 65 Friday to grab a narrow lead over early pace-setter Bae Sang-moon at the first round of the US PGA Tour Tournament of Champions.
Henley birdied five of the first seven holes on the par-73 Kapalua Plantation Course, and gained sole possession of the lead with a birdie at the last.
The birdie gave him a one-shot lead over Bae.
“Today was good,” said Henley, whose birdies included a 20-footer at the 12th. “It's not every day you're going to hit the putts right where you want to and read them correctly, but I did today.”
The tournament is the first of 2015, as the 2014-15 campaign resumes after a December break.
Henley, 25, played the tournament last year after winning the 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii. He failed to break 70 en route to a 27th-place finish but is feeling much more comfortable this time around.
South Korea's Bae also mastered the big, grainy greens at Kapalua.
“I think I was in a zone,” said Bae, who birdied six of the first eight holes but gave a shot back with a bogey at 11 before back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15.
Jimmy Walker, a three-time winner last season, carded a six-under 67 and shared third place with Patrick Reed, Scott Stallings, Ben Martin and Robert Streb.
Defending champion Zach Johnson opened with a five-under par 68. He shared eighth place with world number 11 Matt Kuchar, Australian John Senden and Chris Kirk.
It was a further stroke back to a group of six on 69: Canadian Nick Taylor, Australians Steven Bowditch and Matt Jones, Kevin Streelman, J.B. Holmes, and Brendon Todd.
Reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson headed a group of seven players on three-under 70 that also included Japan's Hideki Matsuyama and Australian Jason Day.
Watson won the World Golf Championships HSBC Champions at Shanghai in November, a victory that helped boost him to fourth in the world.
He's the highest-ranked player in this week's $5.7 million tournament, which concludes Monday.
Schwartzel surges 5 clear
Charl Schwartzel opened with four straight birdies to card a 6-under 66 Saturday and surge five shots clear after the third round of the South African Open.
Schwartzel moved to 13-under 203 to put himself in position for a first victory at his home open at Glendower Golf Club.
England's Matthew Fitzpatrick (67) and Scotland's David Drysdale (68) were tied for second. Five-time winner Ernie Els had a recovery of sorts after slipping out of contention with a 77 Friday. He had a 69 to move up to a tie for 20th. — Agencies


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