Dustin Johnson Leads Hyundai Tournament of Champions
The weather finally relented in Hawaii and Dustin Johnson (pictured) was the player to benefit most from the conditions to take a significant lead into the third and final round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Two rounds were completed on Monday and today’s final 18 holes completed in its entirety will make this an official event.
The tournament was scheduled to begin on Friday but was repeatedly suspended and cancelled as the Kona trade winds played havoc with the arrangements. However the entire field played 36 holes yesterday and the forecast looks fine and the tournament should be completed today.
The Tournament of Champions is the first event of a Hawaiian Swing. It was planned to run from Friday to Monday to allow players to celebrate the New Year before turning their attention to competitive play. The Sony Open begins on Thursday in Honolulu and several players have entered both tournaments.
The first event on the PGA Tour schedule is a limited field event with only winners from last season eligible to play. There is no cut and everybody receives a cheque. The biggest prize looks likes going to Johnson who has a three shot lead before play on Tuesday.
Johnson was identified as a player with a chance to win the money list this season. He has the ability to challenge the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods in the race to win most cash this season. The prize of over one million dollars for winning at Kapalua will give him a perfect start to the new campaign.
Johnson’s seven under par score of 66 was the low round of the day. His one bogey on the 17th hole was more than offset by six birdies and an exquisite eagle on the final hole. Steve Stricker is his nearest rival and he is the defending champion and only former winner in the field.
The current leader does not have the best profile for the Plantation Course in Hawaii. The course puts a premium on accuracy and Johnson excels more in the area of driving distance. However, his short game has been good enough for him to establish what appears to be a decisive lead.