Matt Kuchar carded a round of 63 on Friday and will take a one-shot lead into halftime of the 2019 Sony Open.
The 40-year old Georgia Tech product finished his second day at Waialae Country Club with one bogey offset by an eagle and six birdies – highlighted by a hat trick out of the gate – en route to a two-day score of 14-under par.
“Just two great days. To shoot 7-under back to back is unexpected, but certainly awfully excited,” said Kuchar, who won his 8th PGA Tour title earlier this season at Mayakoba.
“Love the golf course. It’s a challenging one. If you play well you can make birdies; if you don’t you’re going to make bogeys.
“Been on some good form, so felt really good yesterday; today probably wasn’t quite as clean. I think I hardly missed a fairway yesterday and today missed a handful. Boy, the golf course gets tough when you’re playing from the rough. Even if you have short clubs in your hand it’s challenging.
“I took advantage early and started out with three straight birdies, 10, 11, 12, and kind of continued the good play from yesterday.”
One back was Andrew Putnam, who posted a bogey-free round of 5-under 65 to maintain a hold on second-place.
“Yeah, it was another great day. Course is playing tough, fast, and firm. Just happy to have a pretty clean scorecard and have another great round,” said Putnam, who entered the day in solo second after an opening-round 62.
Chez Reavie posted a 65 to sit T3 at 10-under par alongside Stewart Cink, who shot a low-round 62.
Ted Potter Jr. (65) and Marc Leishman (64) were next on 9-under par, one-shot clear of Hudson Swafford and Shugo Imahira, who signed for matching 67s to reach 8 under.
Justin Thomas, the tournament favorite, shot 68 and is nine shots off the pace at 5-under par. The other headliner in Honolulu – three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, shot a 66 and fell one shot shy of the cut line of 2-under par. He will head home early for the second-straight start, while raising more questions about the state of his game.
2019 SONY OPEN IN HAWAII
TOP 5 LEADERS: ROUND TWO
1. Matt Kuchar -14 (-7)
2. Andrew Putnam -13 (-5)
3. Stewart Cink -10 (-8)
3. Chez Reavie -10 (-5)
5. Ted Potter Jr. -9 (-5)
5. Marc Leishman -9 (-6)
STAT LEADERS: ROUND TWO
Driving: Roger Sloan – 320.4 yards
Fairways: Abraham Ancer – 23/28, 82.1%
Greens: Sung-jae Im – 33/36, 88.9%
Putting: Andrew Putnam – 1.500
Eagles: Chez Reavie – 3
Birdies: Andrew Putnam – 14
VIDEO: ROUND-2 HIGHLIGHTS
“I didn’t play well, but it was kind of trying to find what I need to work on to then dial it in. It’s easy on the driving range leading in sometimes, and I felt like I made a lot of progress between the two days for sure. On the greens, around the greens, and with the full swing, and really if my 3-iron and driver were where they should be it’s a different story.
For not playing well at all and being on the bad end of the draw, to miss the cut by one is reassuring. I also love the way we fought back there at the end. That was fun. I felt like I was trying to win a golf tournament just to make the cut, which is not really something I want to get used to, but early in the season when I started the day 17 shots back, it was something where I could actually feel some pressure and make adjustments, too.
I’ve missed cuts before and gone on and won my next event; I’ve finished runner-up my next event. It’s not like an all-tell. I knew coming in that the game was off and needed to kind of start to fine tune. So I’m in a good space given what happened.”
– Jordan Spieth