KAPALUA, Hawaii — U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover returned to Kapalua and had another miserable start to the first round of a new PGA Tour season. The difference Thursday was how he finished.
Glover recovered from a double bogey on his opening hole by going 9-under par over a nine-hole stretch in the middle of his round. He finished it off with a tap-in birdie for a 7-under 66 on Thursday and a one-shot lead in the season-opening SBS Championship.
The last time he qualified for this winners-only tournament, Glover began his season with four straight bogeys. This time, he hit a weak 4-iron that disappeared into the native shrubs and led to a double bogey.
“I was aiming 25 feet left of the hole and hit it 25 feet to the right,” he said.
“I got what I deserved.”
He made up for it in a big way.
Glover, who made only two eagles in 26 tournaments last year, made two in a five-hole stretch on the Plantation Course at Kapalua that turned his fortunes quickly. He then made four straight birdies to open the back nine, and took the outright lead with a pitch from just short of the 18th green that trickled to inside a foot from the cup.
Nathan Green of Australia and Martin Laird of Scotland, among seven players making their debuts at Kapalua, joined Dustin Johnson and Nick Watney at 67. British Open champion Stewart Cink and Masters champion Angel Cabrera were among those at 68.
Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy had a 69, while Calgary’s Stephen Ames opened with a 71.
The wind finally switched to its normal direction — the trades — and it was mild enough to make scoring relatively easy.
The key to Glover’s success last year, when he won the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, was to not be so hard on himself. He was tested immediately with his double bogey, and it didn’t bother him in the least.
“I knew there were a lot of birdies,” he said. “I saw some scores early and I knew guys were making birdies, and if I played well, I could get something going. So just don’t rush anything. Be patient.”
Otherwise, it was a typical start to another PGA Tour season, even as questions linger about Tiger Woods and when he will return from the crisis in his personal life that has put golf in the mainstream media for reasons few ever imagined.