Woodland hits the front as McIlroy rises at Tournament of Champions

Rory Mc Ilroy is one of nine debutants in the field this week

Rory Mc Ilroy is one of nine debutants in the field this week

Tway last came to this idyllic resort on the west end of Maui as the 15-year-old son of former PGA champion Bob Tway.

Meanwhile, defending Kapalua champion Dustin Johnson had a weird rules gaffe on the par-4 fourth hole.

He holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the toughest pin position at the 18th - front and right - to end the day where he started.

Tway had seven birdies and no bogeys as the Tour winners from 2018 kicked off the new year Thursday at the Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii.

Johnson and Thomas are the last two winners at Kapalua. I played in it a lot.

Johnson accidentally hit the wrong ball from the native area following an errant drive, and was assessed a two-shot penalty which resulted in a double bogey.

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"I was just trying to hit the green", said Kizzire, who got into the winners-only tournament by capturing the Sony Open in Hawaii and will defend his title at Waialae in Honolulu next week.

Jason Day is the only other Australian in the field and did well to be in a share of 6th place at 4 under and three from the lead and is enjoying the opportunity to introduce his growing family to the golfing world. "Each shot's hard so you're just focused on the trajectory and where I need to land it and where I need to miss it". "I've actually got the whole crew here, which is very expensive, but it's good to have them on the road again". Na said he injured the finger last week and estimated he would miss about a month.

Woodland, who has won three times in 231 starts on the PGA Tour, said his patience had been tested on a day that started extremely windy before abating somewhat as the leaders negotiated the back nine.

He took ample advantage of the new rule and birdied three of his final five holes to finish at four under and in a six-way tie for sixth.

He won at the Greenbrier a year ago to earn his invitation to this week's event in Kapalua, HI.

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