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Dustin Johnson in front at Kapalua

Johnson had not played the Plantation Course at Kapalua since Thursday. Once he got started, he hardly missed a shot.

January 07, 2013|Staff and wire reports
  • Dustin Johnson hits a tee shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Dustin Johnson hits a tee shot on the 18th hole during the second round of… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)

The PGA Tour season finally got underway Monday, and Dustin Johnson wasted no time taking control in the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Hawaii.

Johnson had not played the Plantation Course at Kapalua since Thursday. Once he got started, he hardly missed a shot. Johnson had seven putts at eagle over 36 holes, four on the back nine alone in the second round. He missed only three greens in regulation. And when his marathon day ended, he had rounds of 69-66 for a three-shot lead over defending champion Steve Stricker.

Three days behind schedule because of high winds, the season started on the day the tournament was supposed to finish. Rickie Fowler made PGA Tour history by hitting the opening shot of the season three times — the first two "opening rounds" had to be scrapped because of 40-mph gusts roaring down the hills.

Johnson returned some degree of normalcy under warm sunshine and strong winds. He simply overpowered Kapalua, twice driving the green on par-fours, one of them into the wind. He was at 11-under 135, and that lead looms even larger with only one round to play.

Bubba Watson, playing with Johnson and frustrated by the wind and slow greens, birdied his last hole for a 69 and was four shots out of the lead.

Keegan Bradley (69) and Brandt Snedeker (70) were another shot behind.

ETC.

Skiles, Bucks will part ways

Scott Skiles is out as coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, a person close to the situation told the Associated Press. The decision to part ways came two days after the Bucks lost their fourth straight game to fall to 16-16. Yahoo Sports reported that assistant Jim Boylan would be the interim coach.

Skiles was 162-182 and in his fifth season with the Bucks. The timing of the move was curious because the Bucks were in seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. But the hard-nosed, defense-minded coach sometimes had difficulty meshing with a roster that was built around scoring guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis.

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The Indiana Pacers signed Coach Frank Vogel to a contract extension.

Vogel replaced Jim O'Brien as the Pacers' coach Jan. 30, 2011, and has led them to the playoffs each of the last two seasons. Last season under Vogel, the Pacers won their first playoff series since 2005.

The Pacers had a rough start this season after losing All-Star swingman Danny Granger to a knee injury, but Vogel has turned things around. Indiana is the Central Division leader at 20-14. Vogel is 82-56 in his three seasons as a head coach, all with the Pacers.

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Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love met with doctors in the Twin Cities to evaluate his right hand, which is broken for the second time this season.

Love also will consult with a hand specialist in New York this week before determining a course of action, president of basketball operations David Kahn said.

There is no timetable for his return, but the All-Star forward and Olympic gold medalist is expected to be sidelined for an extended period.

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Center Andrew Bynum says his knees are better and he still plans on playing this season for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Bynum, who has missed all 35 games this season, declined to offer a possible return date.

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Defending champions Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka will be the top-seeded players for the Australian Open.

Organizers stuck closely to the latest rankings to seed 32 players for each of the men's and women's draws. The year's first Grand Slam tournament starts next week.

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