Justin Thomas one off the lead at the Sentry Tournament of Champions

Joaquin Niemann holds an early lead at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, but Justin Thomas is hot on his heels.

Jack Seddon's picture
Fri, 3 Jan 2020
Justin Thomas one off the lead at the Sentry Tournament of Champions

In what many believe could be the year of Justin Thomas, the American finds himself just one behind leader Joaquin Niemann after round one of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Niemann, who was one of the top perfroming players in Ernie Els' International Team in last month's Presidents Cup, shot a bogey-free round of 66, along with seven birdies, to take the lead in Kapalua.

A late run of form from Thomas secured second place after round one, as he birdied four of his final six holes to finish six-under par, one shot better than his American compatriots Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar.

Defending champion Xander Schauffele will fancy his chances over the next few days and got off to a decent start, shooting four-under par to leave him in T5 with five other players, including Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm.

The 34-man field for the event only features players who won on the PGA Tour during the last calendar year and there is no cut during the tournament.

Niemann, who won The Greenbier back in September, found his first birdie at the fourth, draining a 30-foot putt and he followed up with another at the fifth, this time a much shorter task.

Two more birdies at the seventh and ninth saw the Chilean make the turn at four-under, before adding more at the 12th and 15th. Niemann's final birdie of the day came at his final hole, where a classy up-and-down gave the 21-year-old the lead.

Shot of the Day

GolfMagic's shot of the day goes to Rickie Fowler, who left himself a tap in birdie after he used the slope towards the green brilliantly, landing a high pitch shot onto the bank and allowing the ball to roll perfectly down the slope.