fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Strong finish propels Allred

Wire Reports

HONOLULU - Jason Allred found himself in some prestigious — company after the opening round of the PGA Sony Open on Thursday.

The 24-year-old golfer from Ashland rallied with four — birdies on the back nine to post a 1-under par 69 at Waialae Country Club — in his first PGA tournament since earning a spot on the tour through qualifying — school last month.

Allred is in a 12-way tie for 17th place, just three strokes — behind four golfers who share the tournament lead. Among the competitors — Allred matched Thursday were reigning PGA player of the year Vijay Singh — and defending British Open champion Todd Hamilton.

"It's nice to be up there with those big name guys," Allred — said. "A major goal of mine is not to worry about what other people are — doing and just improve."

Allred didn't get rattled when he bogeyed two of the first — three holes. He birdied the fourth hole but gave back a shot at the fifth. — He completed the front nine in 2-over 37.

"It was really a tough day with windy conditions," said — Allred, who teed off in the afternoon. "I hung in there on the front nine — when things weren't going right. More than anything I kept doing the things — I was doing and hopefully it would turn out OK. And it did."

Allred finished the round with just 23 putts, which was — tied for the best on the day.

"Today it (putting) kept me in there for sure," Allred — said. "I tried not to get too far ahead of myself and stay patient."

More than anything, Allred was grateful to begin the tour — season.

"It was so much fun to get started," he said. "I love — being out there. It's a privilege to be able to do something I love."

Allred is four shots behind Stewart Cink, Brett Quigley, — Tom Byrum and Hank Kuehne, who each shot 66 for a share of the lead.

The talk of the opening round was Michelle Wie, who carded — a 5-over 75 and beat 15 men on the blustery day.

Wie's dream is to become the first female to make the — cut since the Babe Zaharias in the 1945 Tucson Open, but the odds are — no longer in her favor.

"I think if I shoot under par (today), if I end up at — like — over par, maybe I'll make it," Wie said. "But I'm definitely going — to go for under par."

She didn't get much help when the rare Kona wind, which — gusted up to 25 mph, calmed slightly in the afternoon to stabilize the — scoring. Scoring was 11/2 strokes higher than last year.

Wie wound up in a tie for 120th (she was 105th last year), — and was four shots below the projected cut.

But she wasn't the only one who struggled in the wind.

Two-time defending champion Ernie Els had to birdie the — last hole for a 71, his first round over par in the 17 rounds he has played — at Waialae. Singh was hanging around the early leaders on the strength — of an eagle at No. 9, but he took a sloppy bogey on the par-5 18th for — his 69.

"It was hard hitting every shot - the drive and approach — shots were difficult," Singh said. "It's tough for the boys over here, — you know? Going to be tough for a girl here, too."

The comeback of the day belonged to Retief Goosen, who — hit his first two tees shots out-of-bounds, made 9 on the first hole and — played the rest of the way — under for a 72.

Wie opened with a 72 last year at the Sony Open, then — followed that with a 68 - the lowest score ever by a female competing — on a men's tour - to miss the cut by one shot.

Given the conditions, her 75 wasn't that bad. And she — hit several shots she didn't have last year, such as a knockdown driver — to keep the ball low into a wind that caused palm trees to sway.

"I was very impressed, all the different shots she was — playing," said Matt Davidson, a Q-school grad who unwittingly made his — PGA Tour debut playing in front of some 3,000 people, enough to line every — fairway from tee-to-green, standing six-deep behind the ninth green when — they finished the round.

"I didn't feel like I was playing with a 15-year-old girl," — Davidson said after his 77. "She's very polished. She has all the tools — to be out here."

Paul Azinger, Chad Campbell and Ryder Cup captain Tom — Lehman were among those at 67 on a day in which only 29 players in the — field of 144 broke par.