Justin Thomas Backs up 59 with 64, Maintains Lead at Sony Open

To those golf fans who skipped out on watching the Sony Open because “it’s January”, you did so at your own risk. You gambled and lost.

 
Justin Thomas, who yesterday, became the 7th man in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59, followed that magical round with a 64 to post the lowest 36-hole total in Tour history.

 
After two rounds at the Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii, Thomas leads by five-strokes over one of the Tour’s premier bombers: Gary Woodland, and seven over the trio of Hudson Swafford, Justin Rose, and Zach Johnson.

Johnson, in addition to former Georgia Tech phenom Bryce Molder shot matching nine-under 61s, averaging 0.5 strokes under par per hole, an incredible result whether you’re playing at Torrey Pines, Waialae, or Uncle Billy’s Super Adventure Putt-Putt.

 
Thomas may have a comfortable lead at the moment, but there are a lot of guys within range who could make this weekend interesting.

Top 10

1 Justin Thomas -17
2 Gary Woodland -12
T3 Hudson Swafford, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson -10
T6 Webb Simpson, Charles Howell III, Luke List, Satoshi Kodaira, Russell Henley, Russell Knox, Tony Finau -9

Other Notables

T13 Jordan Spieth, Y.E. Yang, Daniel Berger -8
T24 Hideki Matsuyama, Chad Campbell, Bill Haas -7
T48 Branden Grace, Fabian Gomez, Vijay Singh -5
T57 Stewart Cink, Billy Horschel -4
T70 William McGirt, Fred Funk -3

Notables Missing the Cut

Jimmy Walker, Smylie Kaufman, Jason Dufner -2
Camily Villegas, Brandt Snedeker -1
Paul Casey, Wesley Bryan E
K.J. Choi +2
Tadd Fujikawa +6

How The Leader Did It

Justin Thomas, who has already won twice this season, including at last week’s SBS Tournament of Champions in Maui, is on a different level as of late.

 
It is difficult to follow up a 59 with a respectable round, but Thomas did it, carding birdies on four straight holes (9-12), and for the second straight day, an eagle on his last hole.

 
Three bogeys were surprising, but seven birdies and an eagle were good enough for the 6-under 64. Thomas may not have been as dominant on the greens in round two as he was in the opening round, but his accuracy was a close match – hitting only one less fairway (7/14) while hitting the same number of greens (14/18).

Going Great in Round 2

 Two-time major winner Zach Johnson shot just one-under in the first round, which at this course with Justin Thomas’s insane opening, left him well back of the lead.

 
Round two, however, was a different story for ZJ. Johnson was bogey-free, with seven birdies and an eagle to get himself into contention. If he is somehow able to overtake Thomas, it would be his 13th career PGA Tour victory.

 
Augusta resident Charles Howell III has done through two rounds what he does best: make an early-season presence. A four-under 66 has him at nine-under for the tournament and in a tie for 6th, on pace for yet another January top-10.

 
Chad Campbell was likely unhappy with his over-par (+1) opening round, but made the most of round two, scoring an 8-under 62 that was beat by only Zach Johnson and Bryce Molder. The 42-year-old Texan, has zero bogeys through two rounds (his +1 first round came from one birdie, one double-bogey, and 16 pars), and hit 15/18 greens in regulation in round two.

Falling Back

Vijay Singh has nothing left to prove, but could have padded his legacy even further with a strong performance in Honolulu.

 
He was on the periphery of the top 10 after a 5-under 65 in round one, but the Fijian legend looked closer to his age on Friday, with five bogeys to cancel out his five birdies, shooting an even-par 70 to fall back into a tie for 48th place.

 
The 2009 Open Championship winner Stewart Cink is on a quest to show that he is still as good as he ever was, and a first round 66 had him in a good place. However, an even-par second round, where he was +2 on the front nine caused him to plummet back into a tie for 57th.

 
Jason Dufner at least looked safe to make the cut after a round one 5-under 65, but the former PGA Champion couldn’t do much right in round two. An eagle on the 18th could not undo all the damage he did over the first 17 holes, as a three-over 73 left him one-off the cut line.

A Surprising Leader Among the Japanese

The odds that Hideki Matsuyama would be the best among a large Japanese contingency competing at the Sony Open would have been next-to-nothing, but surprisingly, after two rounds. The white-hot Matsuyama, who has finished in the top two of his last six starts has only been the third best from Japan in the field.

 
Satoshi Kodiara, who actually ranks 96th in the world, has been a stud on the Japan Tour, but is killing it in his 2017 PGA Tour debut. In three previous PGA Tour events, he has not finished higher than 71st, but the 27-year-old from Tokyo followed up his first round 65 with a second round 66 to stay in contention, currently in a tie for 6th place.

 
Better known Hideto Tanihara also leads Matsuyama, but only by a shot. Matsuyama shot a 3-under 67 in the second round, placing him in a tie for 24th place.

Quotable

“I played great. I really hit a lot of quality shots today. The three bogeys I made were just terrible; they were lack of concentration, or just not playing smart, but I obviously had a great day out there. To finish with the eagle was huge, they bogeys on 13 and 17 were a bit of a bummer, but I made enough birdies on the back nine to counteract that, so it was great to back up the day with that.”
Justin Thomas, 36-hole leader

Leaderboard

RankNameRound 1Round 2Total 
1Justin Thomas5964-17 (123)
2Gary Woodland6464-12 (128)
3Hudson Swafford6268-10 (130)
3Justin Rose6664-10 (130)
3Zach Johnson6961-10 (130)
6Webb Simpson6665-9 (131)
6Charles Howell III6566-9 (131)
6Luke List6764-9 (131)
6Satoshi Kodaira6566-9 (131)
6Russell Henley6467-9 (131)
6Russell Knox6467-9 (131)
6Tony Finau6467-9 (131)
13Jamie Lovemark6468-8 (132)
13Rory Sabbatini6369-8 (132)
13Billy Hurley III6468-8 (132)
13Scott Piercy6666-8 (132)
13Miguel Tabuena6765-8 (132)
13Henrik Norlander6765-8 (132)
13Y.E. Yang6765-8 (132)
13Daniel Berger6567-8 (132)
13Jordan Spieth6567-8 (132)
13Hideto Tanihara6765-8 (132)
13Cameron Smith6468-8 (132)
24Bryce Molder7261-7 (133)
24Michael Thompson6568-7 (133)
24Brian Gay6964-7 (133)
24Hideki Matsuyama6667-7 (133)
24Chad Campbell7162-7 (133)
24Mackenzie Hughes6865-7 (133)
24Bill Haas6766-7 (133)
24Jim Herman6667-7 (133)
24Brian Harman6667-7 (133)
24Ollie Schniederjans6667-7 (133)
34Chez Reavie6767-6 (134)
34Marc Leishman6866-6 (134)
34Ben Martin6668-6 (134)
34David Lingmerth6767-6 (134)
34Rod Pampling6866-6 (134)
34Pat Perez6767-6 (134)
34Tim Wilkinson6767-6 (134)
34Shawn Stefani6470-6 (134)
34Jared Sawada6866-6 (134)
34Michael Kim6767-6 (134)
34Kevin Na6767-6 (134)
34Richy Werenski6569-6 (134)
34Jason Bohn6668-6 (134)
34Daniel Summerhays6668-6 (134)
48Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano6768-5 (135)
48Peter Malnati6966-5 (135)
48Branden Grace6768-5 (135)
48Fabian Gomez6966-5 (135)
48J.T. Poston6867-5 (135)
48Seamus Power6966-5 (135)
48Sean O'Hair6669-5 (135)
48Robert Streb6867-5 (135)
48Vijay Singh6570-5 (135)
57Jon Curran6571-4 (136)
57Ken Duke7165-4 (136)
57Zac Blair7066-4 (136)
57Carl Pettersson6967-4 (136)
57Kelly Kraft6967-4 (136)
57Cameron Percy6967-4 (136)
57Billy Horschel6967-4 (136)
57Stewart Cink6670-4 (136)
57James Hahn6868-4 (136)
57Bryson DeChambeau6967-4 (136)
57Andres Gonzales6868-4 (136)
57Ryan Brehm6868-4 (136)
57Brandon Hagy6769-4 (136)
70Tag Ridings7067-3 (137)
70John Huh6869-3 (137)
70Scott Brown7067-3 (137)
70William McGirt6869-3 (137)
70Vaughn Taylor6869-3 (137)
70Fred Funk7166-3 (137)
70Ryan Blaum7067-3 (137)
70Kevin Kisner7067-3 (137)
70Brian Stuard6671-3 (137)
70Kyle Stanley7166-3 (137)
70Trey Mullinax6968-3 (137)
70Hyung-Sung Kim6869-3 (137)
70Whee Kim6869-3 (137)
83Colt Knost7068MC
83Jonas Blixt7068MC
83Jimmy Walker7167MC
83John Peterson7068MC
83Harris English7068MC
83Sung Kang6870MC
83Chad Collins7068MC
83Jerry Kelly7068MC
83J.J. Henry6969MC
83Smylie Kaufman6969MC
83Jason Dufner6573MC
83Boo Weekley6672MC
83Patrick Rodgers7167MC
83Harold Varner III7068MC
83Parker McLachlin7167MC
98Ricky Barnes6772MC
98David Hearn6871MC
98Greg Chalmers6871MC
98Nick Taylor6871MC
98Mark Hubbard7069MC
98Camilo Villegas7267MC
98John Oda7069MC
98Yusaku Miyazato6871MC
98Cheng Tsung Pan7168MC
98Soren Kjeldsen6673MC
98Brandt Snedeker7069MC
98Cody Gribble7267MC
98Seung-yul Noh7267MC
98Xander Schauffele6970MC
98Daisuke Kataoka7069MC
113John Senden7070MC
113Paul Casey7367MC
113Steven Alker6971MC
113John Chin7268MC
113Wesley Bryan7070MC
113David Toms7070MC
113Brent Grant6971MC
120Tyrone Van Aswegen7071MC
120Kevin Tway6972MC
120Johnson Wagner7269MC
120J.J. Spaun7071MC
120Bob Estes7170MC
120Derek Fathauer7665MC
120Will MacKenzie6675MC
120Matt Every6972MC
120Chris Kirk7170MC
120Keegan Bradley7071MC
120Morgan Hoffmann6873MC
120Ryan Palmer6675MC
132K.J. Choi7072MC
132Anirban Lahiri7072MC
132Miguel Angel Carballo6973MC
132Bud Cauley7270MC
132Ben Crane6973MC
132Troy Merritt7171MC
132Spencer Levin7270MC
132Kyle Reifers7072MC
140Steve Marino7173MC
141Hiroshi Iwata7175MC
141Tadd Fujikawa7373MC
143Nicholas Lindheim7176MC
143Kevin Hayashi7176MC

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