Chris Kirk finished strong at the Sony Open in Honolulu, making three birdies over his last four holes for a 7-under 63 and a 1-shot lead.

Jordan Spieth wasn’t quite so fortunate.

Spieth hit four trees with 4 shots on the par-4 eighth hole — his 17th of the round — an episode that began with his tee shot caroming off a trunk and into a ditch. He wound up with a quadruple-bogey 8, and even a pitch from the rough short of the ninth green that stopped inches away for birdie wasn’t enough to appease him.

He made eight birdies and shot 69.

That was even more surprising than Thursday a year ago, when he had a 65 and was 6 shots behind Justin Thomas, who shot 59 in the same group.

Spieth declined media requests after he signed his card, instead taking 15 minutes to sign autographs.

Kirk played bogey-free and had a 1-shot lead over Vaughn Taylor, Kyle Stanley and Talor Gooch among the early starters at Waialae Country Club.

Thomas, the defending champion who broke the PGA Tour’s scoring record last year, played in the afternoon.

Kirk, who had only one top 10 last year, hit wedge to about 3 feet on the 15th and 16th, and that final birdie on the par-5 18th was a two-putt from 10 feet.

Spieth played well enough to be right there with Kirk except for a couple of long three-putt bogeys.

And one tee shot that led to plenty of calamity.

His drive on No. 8 was not terribly offline, and the trees to the left are a common spot. This one hit the trunk of a tree and tumbled down a wide (and dry) ditch about 8 feet below the fairway. He studied his options. He found none.

He could have dropped it with a penalty stroke, but there was nowhere to go. His plan was to hit out of the sandy base of the ditch toward the trees closer to the fairway. If it hit the trees and dropped out, he would have been closer than the drop and at least had an opening to the putting surface.

It hit one of the smaller branches and came back toward him, about a yard short of go back down into the ditch. For his third shot, he had a gap toward the front of the green (the pin was back left), but out of a fluffy lie, the ball came out high and hit more trees, bouncing left and settling near another tree.

Next, he had to go under the tree in front of him and over a tree guarding the green. He only got the first part right.

At his point, he was lying 4 and was only a few yards away from the second tee, waiting for another group to tee off. His only choice there was to dump it into the bunker, where the sand was thin. He hit that out to 30 feet and two putts later had a snowman (8).

In Hawaii, of all places.

European Tour

Branden Grace and Chase Koepka shot 7-under 65s to share the first-round lead at the SA Open in Gauteng, South Africa.

Koepka, the younger brother of U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, was among the morning starters and set the clubhouse target by hitting an eagle and seven birdies in his third tournament of his debut season on the European Tour.

Grace had three eagles — at Nos. 2, 8 and 15 — as he bids for a ninth European Tour title and to complete the set of wins at his native South Africa’s three most prestigious events. He has already won the Alfred Dunhill Championship in 2014 and the Nedbank Golf Challenge last year, as well as the Joburg Open in 2012.

England’s Chris Paisley was alone in third place after shooting 66.