Clark was the runner-up at the Sony Open two years ago, the last time he was fully healthy. He suffered a mysterious elbow injury that effectively knocked him out for a year. He showed up with minimal expectations at the first tournament of the year for him, and was pleasantly surprised to get around in a bogey-free 64.
"It's going to be an exciting year for me because I do feel like I'm healthy again and can play a full schedule," Clark said. "I'm obviously doing a lot better than I was last year."
But even Clark couldn't help but notice the names on the leaderboard, mainly because he didn't know who they were. There's always a few rookies to get off to a quick start at the Sony Open. It was rare to see them leading, and with such low scores.
There was a comfort level in Langley's group, however. He and Henley became fast friends after leaving Pebble Beach as low amateurs and flying to Northern Ireland together for the Palmer Cup. Also in their group was Luke Guthrie, who was Langley's roommate at Illinois.
"I think there was a lot of nerves for me the first few holes and I think playing with Scotty and Luke was huge for me, and watching them play well kind of gave me a goal to try to keep up with them, so it was definitely fun feeding off them," Henley said.
One group failed to finish before darkness. Seventy players in the 144-man field broke par, a group included a pair from the Champions Tour. Russ Cochran, who won the Senior British Open in 2011, had a 68 and Fred Funk was at 70.
Piercy, the Canadian Open champion, was among 20 players who started their season last week on Maui, even though it took until the fourth day — when the Tournament of Champions was supposed to end — that the tournament actually began.