HONOLULU – Scott Langley made a rookie debut on the PGA Tour he won’t soon forget.
Russell Henley wasn’t too shabby, either.
Langley thrived on a penetrating ball flight and a pure putting stroke Thursday for an 8-under 62, giving him a one-shot lead over Henley in the first round of the Sony Open. Henley played in the same group as Langley, and they put on quite a show at Waialae Country Club.
Henley made five birdies on the back nine, holing 15-footers with confidence. But the Georgia grad couldn’t keep it up on the par-5 18th hole, where his chip from short of the green came out hot and he had to settle for a two-putt par from 30 feet.
“I’m a young guy, but I’m old enough to know that we have a lot of golf left. We’ve barely started, and I’m excited about the next few days,” Langley said.
Langley, a former NCAA champion from Illinois, played a bogey-free round in a steady wind – nowhere near the gusts of Kapalua last week – and made a couple of long putts.
He holed from 55 feet across the green for eagle on the par-5 ninth, and then took the outright lead on the 16th when a fairway bunker shot reached the green, and he holed a 30-foot birdie.
His final birdie came on the 18th after a tough flop shot over a bunker settled about 6 feet from the hole.
Scott Piercy had a 64 in the morning, and Tim Clark matched that in the afternoon. Dustin Johnson, trying to become the first player in 10 years to sweep the Hawaii swing after winning Tuesday at windy Kapalua, finished with a pair of bogeys for a 70.
Langley is not new to big-time golf. He qualified for two U.S. Opens and tied for low amateur – with Henley – at Pebble Beach in 2010.
Tracking local golfers on the PGA Tour
This week: Sony Open, through Sunday, Waialae Country Club, Honolulu.
In the field: Olympia’s Andres Gonzales, Puyallup’s Ryan Moore and Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley
First-round scores: Gonzales shot a 4-over-par 74, Moore shot an even-par 70 and Stanley had a 3-over 73.
Positons: Gonzales is tied for 130th, Moore is tied for 71st and Stanley is tied for 124th – all trailing leader Scott Langley (62).
Recap: All three locals played afternoon rounds Thursday when the winds kicked up. Gonzales made five birdies in his return to the PGA Tour, but he also had a pair of double bogeys and a triple at No. 6, where he hooked his drive out of bounds. … Moore salvaged his round by rolling in a 25-foot eagle putt on his final hole at No. 9. … Assume Stanley will go through an adjustment period with his new Nike equipment, especially his irons. He made five final-nine bogeys (Nos. 1, 4, 6-8) on holes where he hit no greens in regulation, and at the par-3 fourth (180 yards) he was 30 yards short.
Tee times today: Gonzales at 11:50 a.m. (PST) off the 10th tee; Moore at 10:50 a.m. off the first, and Stanley at 11 a.m. off the first firstname.lastname@example.org