HONOLULU, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- South African Retief Goosen and Kenny Perry carded 6-under-par 64s Friday to share the lead after one round of the Sony Open, the first full-field event on the PGA Tour this season.
After last week's birdie fiesta in the season-opening Mercedes Championships on Maui, low scores were considerably harder to come by in a moderate breeze at Waialae Country Club.
But they were not impossible as Goosen and Perry showed. After tying for fourth last week, Goosen's hot start was no surprise. Perry, however, turned in an unexpected performance.
Perry spent the offseason revamping his swing and arrived here with few hopes. He was 1-over after eight holes when he suddenly caught fire, picking up an eagle at the ninth and adding five back-nine birdies.
"When you take eight weeks off, you don't know what to expect, either mentally or physically," the 42-year-old four-time PGA Tour winner said. "I three-putted the first hole right out of the gate and next thing I know I started executing some flawless shots.
"I was more in control of my game today than I can ever remember. I was trying shots I don't normally hit and they were coming off. Everything came out a dream. It was one of the easiest rounds I've ever played."
Goosen, meanwhile, made a confidence-boosting par-saving putt at the fifth hole before picking up four birdies in the next five. He added an eagle at the easy par-5 18th, where he hit a "soft 3-iron" to 13 feet and sank the putt.
The 2001 U.S. Open champion and two-time defending winner of the European Tour Order of Merit, Goosen long has lived in the shadow of Els, his compatriot who won last week at Kapalua.
With his low-key personality, Goosen never is likely to send the charisma meter off the charts, but he is ranked fourth in the world.
"Driving has never been the best part of my game, but I'm working on it and today I drove the ball really nicely," he said. "Last year I didn't drive the ball well at all, but I've made a few changes to my setup to hit the ball slightly higher."
Meanwhile, Els had trouble rubbing the sleep from his eyes early in the round.
As used to winning as he is, Els suffered a psychological letdown after his magnificent Mercedes Championships victory, where he shot 31-under 261, a PGA Tour record in relation to par.
"It was difficult to get into the round today," he said. "It was a tough mental battle early on. I can't get last week out of my
mind totally. You try, but sometimes your body does not want to do it and your mind does not want to let go.
"I hit some silly shots early on and I was 2-over through five holes. That is not the start I wanted. When I eventually made a birdie on the sixth, I started doing what I did last week."