2014 Tournament of Champions: Zach Johnson leads loaded top 5 at Kapalua

Sam Greenwood

The biggest names have risen to the top of the leaderboard at the season opener in Maui.

While Henrik Stenson dominated the golf world over the final four months of the season, the most consistent and impressive American golfer was arguably Zach Johnson. He had only one win last year, a FedExCup title at the BMW, but he was always near the top of the leaderboard. Six of his eight top 10s for the season came in the second half, and he then added another "unofficial" win when he went head-to-head against Tiger Woods and knocked off the World Challenge host in a playoff. He now has seven top 10s in his last 10 events.

Johnson has largely been this way for a couple years now, constantly charging to the top of leaderboard. It appears that 2014 could be off to a similar start, as the Iowan will begin the third round on Sunday three shots clear of the field. The limited "winners only" event now boasts a loaded top five, and thanks to the low numbers available at Kapalua, there's still plenty of room for significant shuffling.

Zach shot to the top of the leaderboard by matching his brother Dustin Johnson with the low round of the day, a 66. Dustin was the favorite coming into the week, in form after a fall win in China and owning this event on Maui last year. After a middling opening round, the South Carolina bomber is right there alongside Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth in a tie for second.

The midpoint three-shot lead is a bit precarious at a tourney where the winning number is almost always north of 20-under. But given that the most consistent player in the field holds it, everyone else is facing an uphill battle over the final 36 holes. Zach is not one of the longer hitters on Tour, and Kapalua drying out from the late-week rains would only increase his chances of closing.

After starting earlier on Saturday, tee times will be pushed back again on Sunday in an attempt to capture some of the Sunday night primetime audience after the NFL playoff games conclude. The brothers Johnson will not tee off until 5:41 p.m. ET in the final pairing of the day. Here's the leaderboard heading into Sunday's third round:

Place Player Score Round 1 Round 2
1 Zach Johnson -13 67 66
T2 Dustin Johnson -10 70 66
T2 Matt Kuchar -10 68 68
T2 Jordan Spieth -10 66 70
T5 Webb Simpson -9 66 71
T5 Michael Thompson -9 66 71
T7 Ryan Moore -8 67 71
T7 Kevin Streelman -8 67 71
T9 Brandt Snedeker -7 70 69
T9 Ken Duke -7 70 69
T9 Jason Dufner -7 67 72
12 Adam Scott -6 70 70
T13 Gary Woodland -5 71 70
T13 Harris English -5 70 71
T13 Chris Kirk -5 66 75
T16 Woody Austin -4 72 70
T16 Patrick Reed -4 70 72
T16 Sang-Moon Bae -4 69 73
19 Martin Laird -3 71 72
T20 Billy Horschel -2 72 72
T20 Russell Henley -2 72 72
T20 Bill Haas -2 71 73
T20 Scott Brown -2 71 73
24 Boo Weekley -1 71 74
T25 Jonas Blixt E 76 70
T25 Jimmy Walker E 73 73
T25 D.A. Points E 72 74
T25 Brian Gay E 70 76
29 John Merrick 1 71 76
30 Derek Ernst 9 79 76

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