Birdie blitz fires Sahith Theegala into lead at Hawaiian opener

The American had six straight birdies as he leads by one from a group including Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland.

Sahith Theegala hits his approach shot to the 18th (Matt York/AP)
The Sentry Golf Sahith Theegala hits his approach shot to the 18th (Matt York/AP) (Matt York/AP)

Sahith Theegala birdied seven of his final nine holes to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the PGA Tour season in Hawaii.

The American’s nine-under-par 64 in The Sentry event leads a group of five players, including major champions Collin Morikawa and Jason Day, plus FedEx champion Viktor Hovland.

Colombia’s Camillo Villegas and South Korean Sungjae Im are also on eight under, with world number one Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele and Jordan Spieth among those a shot further adrift.

On a day of low scoring, Theegala reached the turn at three-under-par before six consecutive birdies catapulted him into the last – another at the last, giving him the top spot on his own after a bogey at the 16th.

Morikawa made six birdies and an eagle in his 65, while Hovland birdied seven of his last 10 holes.

Matt Wallace was the top English performer in the 59-strong field – made up of last year’s PGA Tour winners and top 50 in the FedEx Cup standings – with a 68, one better than Tyrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Tommy Fleetwood opened with a 70, while Justin Rose came home in 31 after going out in 40 to be two under.