On a far different course at Waialae, he had another stretch of three straight birdies in Friday's second round and closed with a 7-iron to 15 feet for eagle on the par-5 ninth. The Plantation Course at Kapalua was built on the side of the mountain on the west tip of Maui and features fairways that can stretch almost 90 yards wide and big slopes in the greens.
Harman, a two-time PGA Tour victor, says his game has reached a new level since he switched to a new ball in May. "I've always kind of felt like as long as there's fairways and greens and holes to putt it, then I'm going to be fine".
Birdies at two of this first three holes was much more in line with his recent form and he went to the turn 1-under after a third birdie of the day at the 9th to offset two dropped shots.
"I'm making putts, but I'm also putting myself in position to make those putts", Harman said. "I'm starting to get those feelings back".
A tree-laden quadruple bogey for former FedExCup champion Jordan Spieth has derailed what appeared a promising opening round at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
"Then as we go into the Masters I set a bar for March, April, May and then you get into each major".
Defending champion Justin Thomas, who past year opened with a 59 before going on to set the PGA Tour's all-time scoring record in a 72-hole event of 253, could not conjure up that same magic, instead carding a three-under 67, four strokes behind the leaders. "I'm not making everything I'm looking at, but I'm hitting a lot of good putts and made a few".
Dry weather, a fast course and the trades allowed a rarity for Johnson, who hit wedge into the green on the 480-yard opening hole.
"I came here later than I anticipated -like four or five days later and I had zero expectations on my game", the 41-year-old said. "Berger said off the green". "That's just a personal thing for me".
Thomas was also the defending champion in Kapalua last week and could only finish 22nd in the 34-man field, but that did include a final round of 67 in his first tournament for a month. I feel like I was a better ball striker when I was a kid than a pro.
Harman, now ranked 23rd in the world, is sixth in the American Ryder Cup standings, well in contention for one of 12 spots on the visiting team for the October competition against Europe outside Paris.
"I had to play a little conservative towards the end of the round today to make sure we're getting to the weekend".