The Canadian missed the whole of last year with a neck complaint and is currently on the tour with a medical exemption. He carded a seven-under 63 in Honolulu to end the day ahead of Sweden’s Carl Petterson, South Korean KJ Choi and Kyle Reifers, who are tied for second on five under. DeLaet started the day with a birdie at the first before the only blemish came with a bogey on four. From there he compiled a serene round, with five more birdies and a stunning eagle on the par-five ninth.
Petterson hit a bogey-free 65, while Choi registered six birdies and a bogey and Reifers dropped shots at the sixth and 13th holes to take the gloss off seven birdies.
Steve Stricker, who won the opening PGA tournament of the year – the Tournament of Champions in Maui last week – was one of 12 players on four under.