The youth movement is alive and well on the PGA Tour after the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.
On a day where birdies were abundant, rookie Scott Langley, 23, holds the lead after opening with an 8-under 62. Langley, who tied for 29th at last year's U.S. Open before earning his Tour card at Q-School in the fall, began with birdies on three of his first four holes and later added an eagle on the par-5 ninth in addition to a birdie on the 18th, his final hole of the day.
Another 23-year-old rookie, Russell Henley, is one shot off the pace after a 7-under 63 in his first round as a full-time PGA Tour member. A graduate of the Web.com circuit where he won twice in 2012, Henley started his round slowly while playing alongside Langley before carding five birdies on the back nine.
Having finished tied for 13th at last week's winners-only event, Scott Piercy took an early lead with a 6-under 64 and now sits two shots behind Langley after the opening round. He was joined on that number late in the day by Tim Clark, who like Piercy did not drop a shot in his opening round. The South African was a runner-up at Waialae in 2011, but missed last year's event due to an elbow injury.
Former Players champion Stephen Ames fired a 5-under 65 Thursday and finds himself three shots off the pace after one round, along with Jeff Overton. Another former Players champion, Matt Kuchar, headlines a large group one shot farther back that also includes defending U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson and Charles Howell III, who finished tied for second in Honolulu a year ago.
Two days after winning the season's first event at Kapalua, Dustin Johnson opened with an eventful even-par 70 that featured five birdies along with five bogeys. Johnson got his round off to a solid start with birdies on two of his first three holes, but closed with three bogeys across the final six holes of his day to fall back to the pack.