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Tournament Favourite Withdraws, Byrd and Petterson Take Lead in Hawaii

Jonathan Byrd hits a drive on Friday at the Hyundai Tournament Of Champions

A nasty fall on a Maui beach left Geoff Ogilvy with a gash on his hand so bad he had to withdraw from the Hyundai Tournament of Champions opening the door for Jonathan Byrd and Carl Petterson to take the round one lead at (-7).

Byrd had six birdies and holed out for eagle on the Par-4 10th hole at the Plantation Course to share the lead with Petterson.

With just one bogey, it was a remarkably clean round for the native of Anderson, South Carolina who hit one of the most improbable shots of 2010 as he made a hole-in-one for a playoff victory at the Shriners Hospitals Open.

He’ll be looking for more magical moments in round two as he goes off second with the bookmakers at (8-1).

Petterson didn’t hole it out from the fairway or the tee in round one, but did make 5 birdies on the back nine to jump into top spot.

If Petterson can come close to a repeat of Thursday’s round, he should remain in the mix heading to the weekend as the Swede missed just two greens in the opening round while averaging a measly 1.5 putts per hole.  He heads to the tee today at (10-1).

With Ogilvy withdrawing, the books have a found a new favourite in Jim Furyk, the reigning PGA Tour Player Of The Year.

Furyk could easily be leading the tournament if his putter had cooperated a little more on Thursday.  The man with the ‘loop’ made 7 birdies (and 2 bogeys) missing only one green.  A few more putts drop and he could’ve conceivably made it to 8 or 9-under.

Seeing as Furyk’s coming off a career season and with a relatively impressive day yesterday, he seems like a logical favourite at (6-1).

Joining Petterson at (10-1) is PGA Tour veteran Steve Stricker who carded a 4-under 69 in round one.

Stricker is one of the most accomplished players in an, obviously, very accomplished field.  He struggled with the putter in round one averaging just over 1.8 putts per green hit.  If continues to miss his birdie chances today, he’ll certainly lose more ground in round two.

After finishing last season 105th in putting, it could be said that if he doesn’t already have it rolling through 18 holes it may not happen this week.

Finally, from the land of long odds, Bubba Watson hit what is the very early frontrunner for shot of the year hitting the green in two with a driver off the deck on 18.  A shot that he described simply as “lucky”, but with length like Watson’s “lucky” seems to be a very relative term as almost everyone laid up on 18 on Thursday.


The object of golf is not just to win. It is to play like a gentleman, and win  - Phil Mickelson

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