Seamus Power birdied two of his last five holes to open with a two-under 68 in the Sony Open in Hawaii.
The West Waterford man ended the opening day tied for 41st at Waialae Country Club, five strokes behind leaders Chris Kirk and Zach Johnson.
Kirk and Johnson shot seven-under 63s to lead by a stroke from Vaughn Taylor, Kyle Stanley, Talor Gooch and Brian Harman as Power birdied the 18th and bogeyed the second before rolling in a 12 footer at the fifth and a 20 footer at the eighth for his 68.
The Waterford man hit just three fairways but hit missed just five greens and scrambled well for pars with his lone bogey coming at the second, where he drove into a hazard left and eventually missed from 18 feet for par.
FedEx Cup champion Justin Thomas posted a three-under 67 while world No 2 Jordan Spieth shot a one-under 69, recovering from a quadruple bogey eight at the 456-yard eighth, his 17th hole, with a closing birdie four.
According to agency reports, Spieth’s tee shot clipped a tree on the left side of the fairway, and his second shot barely advanced after it caromed off another branch. He hit a tree with his next two shots before finally finding a greenside bunker.
The three-time major champion declined to speak with the media following his round.
Former Masters and Open champion Johnson carded a bogey-free seven-under 63 in the afternoon wave that included a birdie at 18 to grab a share of the lead with early starter Kirk, who stormed into the clubhouse with four birdies over the final six holes.
Johnson revealed he had been suffering from 'flu over the Christmas break.
“I was not right getting on the plane to come here. I am one that likes to prepare,” Johnson said.
“I got here Friday, and I touched a golf club Saturday through Wednesday. Saturday was awful. It was about a three-hour session. It was at least two hours too many because I was not right.
“My legs were shot and my back hurt.”
Johnson won the Sony Open in 2009 and has been inside the top 10 three of the last four years at Waialae.
“Probably (unexpected) more than expected,” he said of his start.
“But I've had many weeks where I'm rested from a mental standpoint, certainly a physical standpoint, where I play great.
“I remember a couple of times I've had a couple ski trips and I come back the next week, didn't even touch a club, and I start preparing on the golf course, and I play great. I don't necessarily win, but I play great. I know it can happen.”