By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer
HONOLULU (AP) — Jordan Spieth has played good golf in the opening round of the Sony Open each of the last two years and has little to show for it.
Both times, he wound up six shots out of the lead, for different reasons.
He opened with a 65 last year, a good score except when compared with another guy in his group — Justin Thomas — who shot a 59.
Spieth made eight birdies on Thursday and was still six shots behind, this time from one hole.
He had a snowman — 8 — on his card.
In Hawaii, no less.
He had to settle for a 69, thanks to a beautiful chip over the bunker to inches from the cup on his last hole at the par-5 ninth for a birdie. It left him closer to the cut line than to the co-leaders, Zach Johnson and Chris Kirk, who kept clean cards in their rounds of 7-under 63.
One shot off the tee led to the calamity.
“I’m looking for my best chance to make bogey,” Spieth said to his caddie from the bottom of an 8-foot ditch as he surveyed his options.
There weren’t many good ones.
To take a penalty drop where the ball entered the hazard meant playing his third shot with trees in front of him and nowhere to go.
His plan was to hit off the sand-packed bottom of the ditch toward the trees lining the fairway, and if it got caught up in the trees, it would at least leave him a shot at the putting surface. What he didn’t plan on was the ball hitting a limb in just the right place that it sent back toward the ditch, a yard away from going back in.
For the third shot, he at least had a gap toward the green, except the ball came out high enough to hit another limb and carom hard to the left. At this point, he took a few steps forward and swung the club like a baseball bat, frustration setting in.
That left another tough shot — under the branches of the tree in front of him, and then over a 30-foot rounded tree in front of the green. He got the first part right, but it came down into the tree and — of course — bounced hard to the left, next to the base of another tree.
This made Spieth laugh, though he wasn’t entirely amused.
Four shots. Four trees.
From there, Spieth had no choice but to punch it into the gaping bunker in front of the green. With a thin lie in…