Tournament of Champions 2022: After the first round, Cameron Smith is in the lead, with Jon Rahm leading Colin Morikawa


Tournament of Champions 2022: Cameron Smith carded a pair of eagles en route to an eight-under-par 65 in the first round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions 2022 in Hawaii on Thursday, taking a one-shot lead after the first round.

When defending FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay couldn’t get up-and-down for birdie on the final par-five 18th hole, the Australian’s solitary lead held. At seven under par, Cantlay is tied with world No. 1 Jon Rahm and Daniel Berger. Kevin Na, Sung-jae Im, and Erik van Rooyen are all lagging behind.

At Kapalua, Smith bogeyed the second hole before starting his round with a birdie on the third. He took two shots to reach the par-five fifth hole and sank his first eagle putt of the day from 44 feet.

When he reached the par-four 13th, he was three-under-par and reeled off a couple of birdies before sinking a 37-foot eagle putt on the par-five 15th. Smith went five-under over a four-hole span after another birdie on the 16th, parring his next two holes.

“I just needed those two eagles to get a really low one going,” Smith said, noting that he expects to need to keep up that pace on a course where the winning score has been 20 under or better in ten of the last thirteen events. “Those were two pretty long putts, and it was probably lucky that they went in, but they did.”

“The course is quite responsive; unless the wind picks up, it’ll be a low-scoring week.” I don’t believe that’s supposed to be the case, therefore it’ll probably require three more of those [low rounds] to finish the job.”

Smith was ranked 21st in the OWGR and qualified for the tournament for the first time after winning the Zurich Classic with compatriot Marc Leishman. He teed it up three times during the fall swing, but not since tied for fourth at The RSM Classic in November.

Meanwhile, Rahm is off to a good start in his bid to keep Collin Morikawa at bay for at least another week in the Official World Golf Ranking.

In a bogey-free round, the Spaniard made three consecutive birdies on the front nine and then four more over the final six holes.

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