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2014 play kicks off at Hyundai Tournament

Tournament Preview

Ah, the live of a professional golfer, where going back to work after New Year's means spending four days at the Plantation Course at Kapalua on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson leads a field that will take on the par-73, 7,452 yard course beginning Thursday.

Only six of the top 20 players in the world have taken the trek to the Pacific for this first tournament of 2014 - Tiger Wood and Phil Mickelson are still at home for the holidays, as is Rory McIlory, who recently got engaged to longtime girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, a professional tennis player from Denmark.

Despite the recent world No. 1s not being in the house, the tournament does sport two of last year's four Major winners in PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner, who tees off at 5:10 p.m. Eastern, and Masters champion Adam Scott, who will pair with defending champion Johnson on last tee time of the day at 5:50 p.m.

That after five crowd is the time to tune in if you're watching at home or suffering through another 80 degree January day on Maui. Brandt Snedker and Billy Horschel take the course at 5:20 p.m., followed by Webb Simpson and phenom Jordan Spieth at 5:30 p.m.

Spieth, who won't turn 21 until late July, is one of the most interesting players to watch after his sensational rookie year. In 2013 he played 23 events, amde 18 cuts, won once and finished in the Top 10 nine times.

Johnson won the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions back in early November, technically the start to the current season, firing a 69-63-66-66 -- 264 to finish 24-under.

A year ago, Johnson fired a 69-66-68 - 203 to finish the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at 16-under, winning the event by four strokes over Steve Stricker and by six strokes over Brandt Snedeker.


01/03/14, Thursday

Anyone who thought 20-year-old Jordan Spieth would have a sophomore slump might want to take a look at the leaderboard at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Yep, Spieth is one of four players at the top of it.

The 20-year-old who finished in the Top 10 of last year's FedEx Cup Standings was one of four players to fire a 7-under 66 at the Plantation Course at Kapalua on Maui.

Spieth recorded seven birdies and was really impressive down the stretch, notching bidies on 14, 15, 16 and 18 to fire a 32 on the back nine.

He's tied for the lead with Webb Simpson, Michael Thompson and Chris Kirk. All three of the latter recorded a bogey each along with eight birdies to keep them from taking sole control of the lead.

The 28-year-old Kirk had an even better finish than Spieth, hitting five straight birdies between No. 14 and 18 to surge into the tie.

Another four players, including defending tournament champion Zach Johnson and 2013 PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner are tied for fifth at 6-under.

Dufner looked like he might run away and hide with the lead, shooting four birdies and an eagle in the front nine, only to notch nine straight pars on the back end.

Matt Kuchar (-5) and Sang-Moon Bae (-4) round out the Top 10 on Day One.

Scores from other notable players on Day One include Brandt Snedeker and Adam Scott tied for 11th at 3-under.


01/04/14, Friday

The top of the leaderboard looks like a ad for baby shampoo at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions - it's led by Johnson & Johnson.

Thirty-seven-year-old Zach Johnson took command of the tournament's lead by firing a 7-under 66 on Saturday, opening up a three-stroke lead over three other players entering the tournament's final day.

Johnson fired seven birdies between holes 4 and 14 to climb to the top of the leaderboard. He leads by three strokes over 2013 Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth, who are all sitting at 10-under.

Dustin Johnson, who was tied for 11th entering the second round, came out with guns blazing, hitting six birdies on the front nine before cooling off with bogeys on No. 11 and 13. He rallied with birdies on 14, 15 and 18 to finish 1-under on the back nine.

Kuchar shot a 5-under 68 for the second straight day.

Boy wonder Spieth, tied for the lead after Day One, was 3-under on the day, hitting three birdies on the front nine.

Sitting four strokes bakc of the lead are Webb Simpson and Michael Thompson, both of whom began the day tied for the lead, only to shoot 2-under 71s.

Sitting five strokes off the lead and tied for seventh are Ryan Moore and Kevin Streelman.

Rounding out the Top 10 is a trio that includes Brandt Snedeker and 2013 PGA Championsihp winner Jason Dufner at 7-under.

Last year's Masters champion Adam Scott shot a 3-under 70 for the second straight day to drop to 12th.


01/05/14, Saturday

With his thoughts focused on close friend Paul Tesori, Webb Simpson came alive on the back nine Sunday, knocking down four birdies in a five-hole span to finish with a 5-under 68 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Sunday, tying him for the lead entering Monday's final round.

Tesori is Simpson's caddie. Tsori's newborn son is in the NICU in a Florida hospital after suffering a seizure thought to be due an infection of the brain.

Simpson wrote the name of Tesori's son, Isaiah, on his hat as he took to the course with fill-in caddie Ted Scott, who normally performs that service for Bubba Watson.

Simpson is part of a three-man tie for the lead entering Monday with 20-year-old Jordan Spieth and defending tournament champion Dustin Johnson.

Zach Johnson had a one-stroke lead over Dustin entering the round, but finished with at 1-over par with a 74 to fall two strokes back. Hanging around at three strokes behind is a field that includes Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner, Kevin Streelman and Gary Woodland.

01/06/14, Sunday


As Christmas vacations go, Dustin Johnson's two sons will have a difficult time ever topping the time they spent early January on the island of Maui watching their dad win $1.14 million.

Johnson was joined by his two jubilant sons on the final green after he eked out a one-stroke win over phenom Jordan Spieth to win the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Monday at the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Hawaii.

Down three strokes behind a trio of leaders entering Monday's final round, Johnson notched a 7-under 66 to rally past Spieth thanks in large part to three straight birdies on No. 14, 15 and 16. For the tournament, he finished 19-under with a 67-66-74-66 -- 273 to take the top prize money and 500 FedEx Cup points.

Spieth shot a 4-under 69, his second straight of the tournament, in which he finished 18-under at 66-70-69-69 -- 274. Spieth closed within a single stroke by birdying No. 17 and 18.
Kevin Streelman and Webb Simpson finished tied for third at 17-under. Streelman was tied with Johnson at three strokes back to start the day and shot a 67 to match his Day One low.
Simpson was tied for the lead after Day Three, but fell back with a 3-under 70, seeing his chances seek early when he recorded back-to-back bogeys on No .3 and 4.

Defending PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner took fifth at 15-under, followed by a four-way tie for sixth of familiar names Billy Horschel, Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson slipped out of contention by shooting an even-par 73, struggling through a round of four bogeys and four birdies.

Scott made things interesting when he recorded a birdie on No. 14 and followed it up with an eagle on No. 15, but his bogey on No. 18 saw him slide to the back of the Top 10.

Tournament Recap

2014? 2013? It doesn't seem to make a difference to Zach Johnson lately.

The 37-year-old native of Iowa City, Iowa, took his second title in as many events in the current PGA season, firing a 7-under 66 on Monday to win the Hyundai Tournament of Champions with a 19-under 67-66-74-66 -- 273.

It's technically his second consecutive, although the previous win was nearly a month ago, coming at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge December 8.

The Hawaiian victory is the 11th of Johnson's career, coming three months shy of his first career victory, which came in April of 2004.

Since winning the Masters, his lone Major championship, in 2007, Johnson has won at least one PGA event every season, except for 2011. He notched two in 2007, one in 2008, two in 2009, one in 2010, two in 2012, two in 2013 and now this title.

While he doesn't have the ranking of No. 1 Tiger Woods, a recent Major nor the FedEx Cup title of Henrik Stenson, Johnson is arguably the hottest golfer in the world right now.

In addition to these two recent titles, he also notched the BMW Championship in Chicago by two strokes last September, the third stop of the FedEx Cup.

The win over Woods at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge moved Johnson into the top 10 for the first time in his career.

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