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Four tied for lead after 66s in Hawaii

First Round – PGA Tour – Hyundai Tournament of Champions – Kapalua Resort Plantation Course – Maui, Hawaii –

Four players are tied for the overnight lead at 7-under after shooting 66s in the opening round of the PGA Tour’s Aloha Swing at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

The Plantation Course at Kapalua was “get-able” in the first round Friday – the 72-hole event ends on Monday – with all but three players breaking par.

Former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson headlines the group at 7-under along with Jordan Spieth, Chris Kirk and Michael Thompson. Spieth managed the only bogey-free round of the leaders.

A host of high-profile players and favorites this week are just a shot back at 6-under including Zach Johnson, Jason Dufner, Ryan Moore and Kevin Streelman. Streelman carded two eagles in his first five holes before slipping back late with bogeys at No. 17 and 18.

World No. 2 Adam Scott and defending champion Dustin Johnson are both 3-under and T-11 after 18 holes. Matt Kuchar is just two back at 5-under.

Simpson was a 10-to-1 pick at Ladbrokes.com heading into Hawaii. He won one of the first six events as part of the PGA Tour’s wrap-around season. He captured the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Las Vegas last October. Webb was T-3 at this event in 2012.

Kirk, Dustin Johnson and Moore also won official events in the fall stretch before Hawaii. Zach Johnson also hoisted a trophy with his comeback win against Tiger Woods at the Northwestern Mutual Golf Challenge.

The trade winds should kick up over the weekend to challenge the players. Expect some movement on the leader board with just 30 players in the field — all champions from the 2013 calendar year.

Other Golf News:

  • Woods, who will begin his 2014 campaign in California in late January, finished 2013 at 93rd in Final Round Scoring on the PGA Tour. And, he still managed to win five times.
  • The European Tour opens 2014 at the Volvo Golf Champions Jan. 9-12 in South Africa. The Ryder Cup returns to European soil Sept. 25-28 at Gleneagles in Scotland.
  • Former World No. 1 Rory McIlroy announced his engagement to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki over the holiday season. McIlroy has slipped to 6th in the Official World Golf Ranking struggling through much of 2013 until a last-season victory at the Emirates Australian Open.
  • Spieth, who capped off his 2013 campaign with a runner-up effort at the TOUR Championship, was 2-2 in his Presidents Cup debut last fall. He also finished T-17 last winter at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.