Atwal starts Tournament of Champions in Hawaii with a 72

Kapalua: Arjun Atwal, the first-ever Indian winner on the PGA Tour, made a modest start at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions with a one-under 72.

Atwal, who won the Wyndham Championships to qualify for the event, is lying tied 22nd in a field of 33 champions.

On a fairly good day for scoring with calm conditions at the par-73 Plantation course, which is notorious for its strong wind, Jonathan Byrd and Carl Pettersson shared the lead at seven-under 66.

Atwal was playing with Dustin Johnson (71), who won twice in 2010, besides coming close at the US Open and PGA Championships.

Atwal opened with a birdie on the first but he gave that shot away with a bogey on fourth. A birdie on fifth was followed by three pars and a birdie on ninth as he turned in two-under. He then shot eight pars but a bogey on 18th saw him fall to 72.

Two-time defending champion Geoff Ogilvy had to withdraw with 12 stitches in his right finger, making him the first defending champ in 50 years to miss the winners-only event.

Byrd had qualified for the tournament with a win in Las Vegas that was achieved with a hole-in-one in a three-man playoff. Ben Crane was a stroke behind the leaders.


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