Woodland leads Tournament of Champions, McIlroy three back

Florence Fletcher
January 6, 2019

He is one of eight first-timers here, but he had experience of playing the Plantation for a week when, as a 15-year-old, he was here with his father, Bob Tway, who finished tied for 28th in the 2004 winners-only event.

"I have a little different mindset this week, playing a little more aggressive, trying to contend, and trying to win instead of just enjoying the views out here, which I've done in the past", said Woodland.

"I'm in a pretty good spot off the golf course". His 74 included a two-shot penalty when he hit a ball that wasn't his. He had a close call on the 16th, when he tried to atone for the missed birdie try on the previous hole by going at the flag and landing just over the green. "Definitely will have a little extra emotion with me, but we'll get through it".

"I just tried to keep my composure as much as I could - that's the hardest part when you get off to a good start and then have a hole like (the eighth)", Day said after his round.

Tway's blemish-free round included seven birdies in what is his first appearance in the winners-only event after earning his first PGA Tour title at the Safeway Open in October a year ago. "The first two competitive rounds of year, nine-under par, only two bogeys, it's been nice".

American Kevin Tway grabs a club from his bag as he prepares to play a shot on the 18th hole Tournament of Champions. World number six Jon Rahm is tied for 11th at three under.

The 34-man field in Hawaii is restricted to 2018 winners on the PGA Tour.

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Three golfers - Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose - qualified but are not playing.

Perhaps the most noticeable change is that players can now leave the pin in while putting, something that previously was not allowed.

"Every year you start off with that focus and determination".

Rory McIlroy birdied three of his last four holes for a 69 in his first competitive round on the Plantation course. But I knew I wanted to be prepared coming in. I can promise you that. "I've obviously been in the position multiple times".

"Any time I've got a putt over 10 feet, I'll probably be leaving it in, especially if it's uphill".

He made up for that with his eagle putt, laughing when it dropped, though he said it had nothing to do with surprise.

"If I've got an eight-footer to win, I can't take myself seriously if I have the pin in", the 2017 PGA Championship victor told reporters.

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