Kirk, Johnson lead Sony after first round

Chris Kirk finishes strong to take lead as Jordan Spieth takes late tumble at Sony Open

Chris Kirk had three birdies over his last four shots to take the lead at the Sony Open. AP

Twice major victor Johnson carded a bogey-free seven-under 63 in the afternoon wave that included a birdie at 18 to grab a share of the lead with early starter Kirk, who stormed into the clubhouse with four birdies over the final six holes. Johnson countered with four birdies on the front and three on the back.

"My swing kind of felt better and better as the day went on".

"Ive probably been off long enough that you never know whats going to happen", he said.

"I had a great day today, and I'm about to go do it".

"My goal is very similar to the last couple of years, which is to focus on the major championships and try and be in contention to win on the weekend in at least a couple of those", Spieth told a pre-tournament press conference at Waialae CC in Honolulu. Stanley capped his round with an eagle at the par-five ninth, rolling in a 41-footer. For his third shot, he had a gap toward the front of the green (the pin was back left), but out of a fluffly lie, the ball came out high and hit more trees, bouncing left and settle near another tree.

Japan's Daisuke Kataoka and Americans Peter Malnati, Matt Every and Tom Hoge all shot 65.

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Ireland's Seamus Power is two under par after his first round, he teed off on the back nine with his first birdie arriving on the 18th, before bogeying the second and recovering with birdies on the fifth and eighth holes.

Incredibly his third also hit a tree and not to be outdone so did the fourth.

World number four Thomas had Phil Mickelson's former caddie Jim "Bones" McKay on his bag, filling in for regular caddie Jimmy Johnson, who is sidelined by plantar fasciitis.

Johnson and Kirk kept clean cards playing on opposite sides of the draw and closed with different brands of birdies on the par-5 18th hole - Kirk two-putted from about 10 feet, while Johnson found a bunker, laid up and hit a wedge to 5 feet.

And that means the 24-year-old has been installed as the favourite to win the Sony Open in Hawaii, ahead of good friend and defending champion Justin Thomas.

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