Jack Nicklaus converted a 15-foot putt for an eagle at the par-5 second to win two Skins and picked up an additional Skin with a birdie at the par-4 fourth to increase his winnings to $60,000.
'I was hitting the ball straight as an arrow,' said Nicklaus. 'I needed to work something out on the range and I think I worked out.'
Arnold Palmer wasn't kept out of the action on the Gold Course at Wailea as he hit a 5-iron to six feet for a birdie at the par-3 third to win the Skin. The 74-year-old later added a birdie at the eighth to up his total to $50,000.
Defending champion Lee Trevino failed to win a Skin on the front nine.
Trevino came close at the opening hole and hit his approach to 12 feet for a birdie. Watson matched him, however, and drained a birdie putt of his own to halve the hole.
After Nicklaus and Palmer won Skins on holes two through four, Watson had a chance to win the par-4 fifth but his birdie try lipped out.
Watson came close again with a birdie at the sixth but Palmer tallied a birdie as well to halve the hole.
At the par-5 seventh, Watson hit his second shot into a bunker but blasted his third out of the sand to six feet. He made the birdie to give him three Skins and the lead after the first day.
Palmer stayed in the hunt with a birdie at the eighth and nearly won another Skin with a birdie at the ninth but Trevino halved him with a birdie of his own.