The new year begins in beautiful fashion for the golf world. The year's first event is the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii
Taking place on the Plantation Course at the Kapalua Resort, the event features 30 of the top players from the PGA tour. While notable absences such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson somewhat weaken the commercial appeal, the HTOC is still a high-stakes tournament.
Play begins on Friday, Jan. 3 and runs through Monday, Jan. 6. There will be no cut line, so players are guaranteed to receive a payout, and fans can follow their favorite's progress—even if they have fallen out of contention.
Here's a look at the field. Players are listed by the order in which they will tee off on Friday. The defending champion, Dustin Johnson, is listed last with his playing partner, 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott.
- Derek Ernst
- Woody Austin
- Martin Laird
- Scott Brown
- Ken Duke
- Sang-Moon Bae
- Brian Gay
- Michael Thompson
- Jonas Blixt
- Patrick Reed
- Russell Henley
- Ryan Moore
- Jimmy Walker
- John Merrick
- Harris English
- Chris Kirk
- Boo Weekley
- D.A. Points
- Bill Haas
- Kevin Streelman
- Jason Dufner
- Gary Woodland
- Brandt Snedeker
- Billy Horschel
- Jordan Spieth
- Webb Simpson
- Zach Johnson
- Matt Kuchar
- Dustin Johnson
- Adam Scott
Scott was the winner of a fan poll that paired him with Johnson.
Check back here for daily recaps and updates on the leaderboard.
PGA Tour veteran Zach Johnson won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions with a final score of 19 under par after a brilliant final-round seven-under par score of 66, beating second-year sensation Jordan Spieth by just one stroke.
Spieth shared the third-round lead with Webb Simpson, with Johnson trailing by two strokes. However, the former Masters champ called upon his formidable skills during crunch time, and they did not fail him.
With the win, Johnson became the third part of an elite trio, as ESPN's Justin Ray describes:
Players with 10 @PGATOUR wins, one being a major, since 2007: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) January 7, 2014
After making birdie on his final three holes to close out the tournament in style, Johnson described what was evident to all who had the privilege of watching him play: "I just picked it apart," said Johnson, as noted by the Associated Press, via ESPN.com. "I didn't deviate from anything I typically do on a golf course."
It was just one of those rare moments in sport when an athlete performed at his or her utmost potential. It was also the second win in the last month for Johnson, who finished in first place at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge.
Here's a look at the final leaderboard, courtesy of PGATour.com:
Things remain tight in Maui after Round 3. Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson are gridlocked in a tie at the top of the leaderboard.
Overnight leader Zach Johnson had a torrid day and bogeyed holes 14 and 16. Johnson's third-round 74 dropped him to fourth place behind the leading trio.
Simpson made the biggest jump of the day in pursuit of his fifth 2013 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year) managed to stick with the crowd despite being the youngest player to ever participate in the tournament—a win would dethrone Tiger Woods as the youngest player to ever win it.win. Spieth (the
But the real star of the show was Dustin Johnson. The defending champion is looking for his ninth PGA tour win and also hopes to become the third player to successfully defend his title in the tournament since 1999.
Johnson told reporters, via Reuters, that he has a plan in place to bring home the title on Monday: "I've got to take advantage of the par-fives. Today, I made a birdie and an eagle but I parred the two on the back nine which is poor for me, especially (after) hitting good drives."
Here is a look at the leaderboard before Mondy's action:
Zach Johnson is doing good work these days. He shot a seven-under par 66 on Saturday to take a three-shot lead after two rounds at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He fired a six-under 67 on Friday and these two rounds were preceded by his thrilling playoff win over Tiger Woods at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge.
The 37-year-old seems primed for a big season.
His strong performance allowed him to surge past defending champion Dustin Johnson, 2013 Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar. All three men are tied for second place at 10 under par overall.
Zach Johnson had seven birdies and no bogeys on the day.
Here's a look at the updated leaderboard.
Spieth, D.Johnson and Kuchar figure to remain in contention for the final two days. All three have shown great consistency through the first two rounds. If Zach Johnson is going to maintain his advantage, he'll have to show the same poise he did against Woods in December.
There's a four-way tie atop the leaderboard in Maui. Jordan Spieth, Webb Simpson, Michael Thompson and Chris Kirk share the lead after one round of play. At seven under par, they own a one-shot lead over Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson and Kevin Streelman.
In other words, things are tight.
The latter held a one-shot lead until the 17th and 18th holes. He bogeyed the final two holes to fall behind the leaders. Before he slipped up on the last two holes, Streelman holed this 97-yard approach shot on the third hole.
After faltering late, he'll need to start strong on Saturday to regain the momentum he lost.
Spieth and Simpson were late starters, but their strong finishes led to the logjam atop the leaderboard.
Spieth didn't have a bogey all day, and he birdied four of his last five holes to get to seven under. The 2013 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year looks determined to start 2014 on a positive note.
Simpson birdied the 17th and 18th holes to join Thompson, Kirk and Spieth in the first-place tie.
Kirk and Thompson aren't household names, but they both earned their spot in the tournament by winning in 2013. That said, they will have to display consistency to continue to compete with Spieth, Simpson and others.
Here's a look at the leaderboard after Friday's action.