Spieth among four leaders at Kapalua
Maui, HI (SportsNetwork.com) - Jordan Spieth fired a 7-under 66 on Friday to grab a share of the lead after the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Last year's PGA Tour Rookie of the Year was joined atop the leaderboard by 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, Chris Kirk and Michael Thompson.
Reigning PGA Champion Jason Dufner opened with a 6-under 67 on the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort. He shares fifth place with former Masters winner Zach Johnson, Ryan Moore and Kevin Streelman.
Matt Kuchar is alone in ninth at minus-5, while Sang-Moon Bae is one stroke back at 4-under 69.
Spieth, last year's John Deere Classic winner, had a steady front nine with a 4-foot birdie putt on the third and a 20-foot birdie effort on No. 9 as he turned in 2-under.
The 20-year-old Texan drained an 8-foot birdie try at the par-3 11th. He caught fire after a pair of pars.
Spieth drove the green on the par-4 14th and 2-putted for birdie. He birdied the next two holes, both from inside six feet and closed his first round of 2014 with a 12-foot birdie putt at the last.
"It's an accomplishment just to be here in the first place. I'm humbled to play alongside these 29 other guys that are champions from the past year," Spieth stated. "To finally be here, is a cool experience for me."
Simpson, who played alongside Spieth, holed a birdie effort from off the green on the third, then 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 fifth. A poor second shot at the seventh led to his only bogey of the day.
Last year's Shriners' Hospitals for Children Open winner bounced back with a tap-in birdie at the ninth. He made it two in a row as he poured in a 30- footer on No. 10.
Simpson moved 4-under with a 24-foot birdie effort at the 12th. He got up and down for birdie at 15, then dropped his approach 12 feet from the cup at 17. After making that birdie chance, Simpson birdied the last from inside three feet to grab a share of the lead.
"We did (play off each other)," Simpson said of Spieth. "It's just fun to go out and play with a young guy with a lot of confidence. We just kept making birdies."
Kirk made a pair of short birdie tries at four and five, then 2-putted for birdie at the ninth. He gave that stroke right back due to a poor second shot on the 10th.
The reigning McGladrey Classic winner soared up the leaderboard with a stellar finish. He chipped to six feet at the 14th and rolled that in for birdie.
Kirk 2-putted for birdie at 15, then sank a 9-footer for birdie at 16. He made it four in a row when he ran home a 31-foot birdie try on No. 17. Kirk birdied the last from six feet out to post 66.
"I hit a couple of really nice shots at 14, then hit 15 in two to make a couple easy birdies, then managed to keep it rolling to the end from there," Kirk said.
Thompson parred four in a row before converting back-to-back birdie tries at five and six. After a 2-putt birdie at nine, he faltered to a 3-putt bogey on the 10th.
The Honda Classic winner bounced back with an 18-foot birdie putt on the 11th. He posted back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15, then again at 17 and 18 to grab a piece of the lead.
NOTES: Spieth and Thompson are among 13 players making their first appearance at this event ... Bae made the first birdie of the year when he birdied the second ... Eleven of the last 30 winners of this event owned at least a piece of the first-round lead.
01/03 23:10:07 ET