VIDEO: Hyundai Opening Ceremonies Feature “Ha” Breath of LifeJanuary 7, 2012, 5:22 AM HST · Updated January 9, 11:01 AM 0 Comments
By Wendy Osher
***Video editing courtesy news/media intern, Bobbi-Lin Kalama from Kamehameha Schools – Maui.
The 2010 Hyundai Tournament of Champions opened to a gusty and sunny day on Friday, with NE winds of 10 to 20 mph and temperatures in the high 70s.
“We’re going to have great weather conditions throughout the rest of the week,” said Tournament Director, Nancy Cross who encouraged the public to see the event live through Monday at the Plantation Course in Kapalua.
The opening festivities featured a blessing by Ritz Carlton-Kapalua cultural advisor, Cliford Naeole, who was accompanied by Ulalena’s Anthony Natividad, and Hawaiian musician, Henry Kapono. Also featured, were dancers from the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu, who performed vignettes from their show “Ha,” translated as the breath of life.
The performance cleared the way for golfers to make a statement on Maui under clear skies and a view of breaking waves on the shores of Honolua and Mokuleia Bays below.
On the green, defending champion Jonathan Byrd continued his stellar play, topping the leader board in day one, with an opening-round 6-under-par 67. That included a stretch on the front nine of six consecutive birdies on holes 3-8. The six consecutive par beaters matched a career best for Byrd, who also birdied six straight at the 2003 Bellsouth Classic.
“The 2012 Hyundai Tournament of Champions is really unique,” said Cross. “It features only the champions from the prior year, and we’ve got 28 of some of the greatest players in the world… We’re really excited to see who the first champion of the PGA Tour season is,” said Cross of the players who are vying for a share of a $5.6 million purse.
The leader board also included: Michael Bradley who shot a 5-under 68, T2; Martin Laird, 5-under-par 68, T2; Steve Stricker, 5-under-par 68, T2; Webb Simpson Webb Simpson, 5-under, 68, T2; Keegan Bradley,69 (-4); and K.J. Choi,70 (-3).
Also of note in Day One, Lucas Glover withdrew prior to the start of the first round due to a knee injury. Glover joins fellow injured players Fredrik Jacobson, Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker who will receive unofficial last place money ($59,750) since injuries did not allow them to compete.
The tournament continues through Monday, January 9th with free parking for spectators at the Honua Kai Resort, where they can catch shuttles to the tournament grounds.
Earlier this week, players participated in the Pro-am and a Closest to the Pin Contest for charity, with The Golf Channel putting up $30,000 for the event. Lahainaluna, paired with Keegan Bradley won the closest to the pin, and $15,000 for the Lahainaluna High School Foundation. Other fund recipients were the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center, Hawaii State Junior Golf Association and the Boy Scouts.
“We also have other designated beneficiaries that are helped by this event: Kalima O Maui, Hale Makua, and the J. Walter Cameron Center–they all help us throughout the tournament, so we’re so happy to support the Maui charities,” said Cross.
She expressed thanks to the estimated 480-plus volunteers who came out to assist with the event and encouraged the public to view the event live through Monday. “We’re just looking forward to a start of a great week,” she said.