Date: January 15, 2016
Author: Robert Grant

Allenby struggles after Hawaii ordeal

After returning to the scene of last year's nightmare, Victorian Robert Allenby has made a less than auspicious start to the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Allenby, who is recovering from a wretched year on and off the course, stumbled to a three over par 73 in the opening round of the event, 10 shots off the pace set by veteran Vijay Singh, Ricky Barnes and Morgan Hoffman.

The 44-year-old said he was back in Hawaii in the hope of finding closure after last year's bizarre story about him being drugged and mugged after drinking at a bar the night after he missed the cut.

He said he had sought psychological help to deal with the incident, which gathered wide exposure and various versions.

“I needed it to help overcome the stuff I’ve been dealing with,” he said ahead of this week's tournament.

He said he needed to return to play the event for the sake of his own mental health as he had been having nightmares about being chased down a street.

“I’ve got so many great memories here that I wasn’t going to let one bad one interrupt it,” he said.

 "l also thought for my own wellbeing that maybe I could come here and face it and put some closure on what happened last year.” 

 Last year Allenby said he was robbed and kidnapped during a night in Honolulu that left him with cuts and abrasions to his face but no memory of what happened.

He recalls fans recognising him and wanting a photo and said police surveillance shows him leaving the restaurant.

After that, he says, his memory was a blank until he woke on the street and was helped by a homeless woman.

Allenby believes someone slipped a date-rape drug into his drink at the restaurant which he said explains the memory loss.

A month after the incident, police arrested a Hawaii man for using Allenby’s credit cards and he was sentenced in August to five years.

Meanwhile, the Australian has some work to do if he is to avoid missing the cut for the second year in a row.

Steven Bowditch was the leading Australian after the opening round at four under par and three off the pace.