Tournament of Champions: Tway leads as Thomas, Johnson lurk

American golfer Kevin Tway carded a seven-under-par 66 to set the pace at the season-opening event in Maui, Hawaii on Thursday.

American golfer Kevin Tway carded a seven-under-par 66 to set the pace at the Tournament of Champions in Maui on Thursday.   -  Getty Images

Kevin Tway earned a one-stroke lead after the opening round at the Tournament of Champions as the 2019 PGA Tour season got underway.

American golfer Tway carded a seven-under-par 66 to set the pace at the season-opening event in Maui, Hawaii on Thursday.

Tway made seven birdies without dropping a shot to lead a field restricted to golfers who won a tournament during the previous calendar year.

The 30-year-old's display was impressive after he withdrew from Wednesday's pro-am at the Plantation Course.

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"It kind of felt like I was walking on a water bed the whole hole and so I withdrew from the pro-am, went to the doctor, had like an ear infection and sinus infection," Tway said. "I got some pills and feel a little bit better today but still a little dizzy."

Tway, who claimed the 2018 Safeway Open, ended the day ahead of Justin Thomas and reigning champion Dustin Johnson.

American stars Thomas and Johnson had seven birdies and a bogey apiece on day one of the event, while Gary Woodland also recorded a 67.

Patton Kizzire – three shots off the pace at four under – made the shot of the day as he registered a hole-in-one on the par-three eighth.

It was Kizzire's first ace on the PGA Tour and he told Golf Channel: "I was just trying to hit the green.

Major winners Rory McIlroy and Jason Day also ended the day tied for sixth alongside Kizzire.

McIlroy holed five birdies and a bogey, while Day enjoyed a flawless back nine to move within three strokes of Tway.