Hawaii’s Kapalua Bay — This year is new, but Scottie Scheffler is still the same. Eight birdies and an eagle on Friday helped the world’s best golfer shoot a 9-under 64 at The Sentry. This gave him a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the first event of the PGA Tour’s season.

People have come to expect low scores on Kapalua’s Plantation course. The Kona wind has been blowing in the wrong direction, but it hasn’t been strong enough to stop the 59-player field from charging whenever they want.

Scheffler was at 16-under 130, but he only had a one-shot lead over Tyrrell Hatton of England, Brendon Todd, and Sungjae Im, who were all tired from flying.

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“If you play well there, you’ll get rewarded,” Scheffler said. “You could get in trouble if you don’t hit it in the right places.” “I need to keep my foot on the gas.”

Why did Hatton do that? He did it, even though he was tired. Including his three-hour stopover in Los Angeles, he said it took him just over 25 hours to get from London to Maui. This was partly because of a mechanical problem. He didn’t feel good, and it wasn’t just because of the long journey.

After that, he shot a 62, which was his worst round as a pro.

Hatton said, “Maybe a surprise to do it in the second round back at the beginning of the year after taking so much time off.” “I wouldn’t say I took care of myself in December; that may have had something to do with it.” Okay, so the body hasn’t been moving well. I’m sure you would be disgusted to see some of the flight traces of some of my tee shots.

On the last hole, a par-5, he made an eagle putt from just under 100 feet away. That was the highlight of his “mad day on the greens,” which led to his score of 62.

On the back nine, Hatton had just one par and one birdie.

Todd closed with a 30 on the first nine holes to get a 64, and Im shot a 66. Viktor Hovland, the FedExCup winner, made an eagle putt from just over 50 feet on the last hole to finish with a 67. He was two shots behind Collin Morikawa (also 67), Chris Kirk (65), and Byeong Hun An (64).

Seven golfers at Kapalua have never won on the PGA Tour. An is one of them. Previous year’s winners were the only ones who could play in the tournament. Now, anyone who ended in the top 50 in the FedExCup can.

A lot of people have been scoring, just like the last two years. Jordan Spieth, who had a 67 to stay within three shots of the lead, just shrugged and said, “Just average.”

In fact, on Friday, the average score was 67.4. 59 golfers all beat par.

Scheffler wasn’t a surprise, of course. Last year, he had one of the best statistical years on the PGA Tour (in the non-Tiger Woods division). This was a big reason why he was elected PGA Tour Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

At the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas at the end of last year, he beat 20 of the best athletes in the world. Here I am on Maui, making enough birdie putts and some 6-footers for par along the way to keep going.

There are plenty of chances for Scheffler, as long as he hits the ball well.

He said, “I played really well.” “When I did get into trouble, I got out of it pretty quickly and made a few nice pitches and putts as well.”

The goal had already been set by Hatton, Todd, and Im when Scheffler got to the scoring part of the back nine. The Texan then took advantage. He made a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 12, hit a wedge up the hill to 8 feet on No. 13, drove into the bunker on the 14th, which was playable, and blasted it out to 2 feet. He then made four straight birdies with a wedge that he clipped exactly to 6 feet.

Even though the 18th hole is only 667 yards long and has a fast green, the Kona wind made it all playable. Scheffler used a 5-iron to hit the green on Thursday, but a 3-iron on Friday because of the wind.

He said, “A good 3-iron.”

Schafffer said, “It’s really fun to play.” “It’s without a doubt where everyone wants to begin the year. Some fairways aren’t nearly as big as they look, but a lot of them are. To do well out here, you need to hit good shots, shape the ball in different ways, and do a lot of other things.

DIVVOTS: Todd is one of many players who have changed caddies this year. It’s Paul Tesori, who was fired by Cameron Young at the end of last year. Now Young has Wayne De Hass as a caddie at Seminole Golf Club. De Hass has also worked as an occasional caddie for Ernie Els on the PGA Tour Champions. Hatton and Brian Harman are going to the Sony Open next week and then going right from Honolulu to Dubai for a Tour event.

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