Graham DeLaet; delights in opening round of Sony

The first full event field of the 2012 PGA Tour season is once again set against the paradise backdrop that is, Hawaii.

Hosted by the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, the Sony Open offers both fans and players alike, a glimpse at what the PGA Tour season may have in store for them.

Steve Stricker had the headlines for most of the week, looking to become the first player since Ernie Els to win the 'Aloha Slam' -- But it was perhaps little known Graham DeLaet that stole the show carding an opening round 63, to lead by two.

The 29-year old Canadian had little reason to have the confidence Stricker had coming to the Plantation Course this week.

After all, he had only played in three PGA Tour events in 2012 due to back surgery to correct issues with disks in his back.

This time last year, DeLaet was undergoing that procedure, in which disks were shaved in his back to relieve pressure on a nerve. During and after the procedure, DeLaet thought he may never get to tee it up again.

“I’m just so excited to be back out,” said DeLaet after his opening round in Honolulu.

“I had a good season my rookie campaign, and then it was all basically just taken away. And I realize now how fortunate we are to be playing golf for a living. My whole attitude is definitely better.”

The proud Canadian would shoot up the leader board after jarring a chip shot just off the green on the par-five, ninth for an eagle three.

Four more birdies on his back nine would come on No. 10 and 12, followed by back-to-back birdies on No. 17 and 18 to close his round of seven-under, 63.

DeLaet's lone slip would come on the par-three, fourth where he took a bogey.

"I realize over the past couple of years or a year that we are all so fortunate to be playing golf for a living," DeLaet continued. "You know, bogey is a pretty minor problem looking back to what I went through last year."

He now holds a two stroke lead over the likes of Carl Pettersson and KJ Choi.

DeLaet is playing 2012 on a Major Medical Exemption, which means he will have 26 events he can play in, to earn enough money to match the No. 125 player on last year's money list, to keep his status on the PGA Tour.

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