Tied for the lead with fellow Americans Mark Wilson and Nick Watney when the opening round was completed at the Kapalua Resort earlier in the day, Johnson fired a sizzling seven-under-par 66 to surge three strokes in front of the pack.
Making the most of his prodigious length off the tee in breezy conditions, Johnson birdied the first three par-fives on the Plantation Course before eagling the last of them, the 18th, to post an 11-under total of 135.
His only blemish of the round came at the par-four 17th where he bogeyed the hole after running out of fairway off the tee.
"I hit the ball really well this afternoon," a smiling Johnson told reporters after coolly sinking a five-foot eagle putt on the 18th green in an event cut to 54 holes. "I'm pretty pleased with my play so far."
Defending champion Steve Stricker was alone in second after carding a 67 with Masters champion Bubba Watson a further stroke back at seven under after a 69.
The elite, 30-man field of winners from last year's PGA Tour completed 36 holes on a marathon Monday at Kapalua after play had been abandoned on the previous three days because of strong gusting winds.
Scheduled to finish on Monday had the bad weather not intervened, the Tour's season-opener will instead conclude with a rare Tuesday finish. (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)
- Sports & Recreation
- Kapalua Resort
- Nick Watney