Russell Henley shot a second-round 63 and will enter the weekend in Honolulu with a three-shot lead over Haotong Li of China.
Henley, who started his second day on the back nine at Waialae, got off to a somewhat sluggish start and was just 1 under through 12 holes, but the 2013 Sony winner reeled off four birdies over his next five holes, then closed with an eagle on the par-5 finishing hole (No. 9) to post a two-day score of 15 under.
“Yeah, started out with a nice, two great shots on 10 to about three feet with a wedge for birdie,” said Henley, 32. “Really made some nice par saves. Hit a couple wrong clubs off the tee. Made good swings, but on the doglegs had to hit it through the dogleg and be in the rough, and from there you play defense out here.
“Hit some poor chips and made some good par saves as well. Putter kept my round going on that side.
“And then the front I started hitting a few more fairways and giving myself some good looks and executing there from 10 to 15 feet or less. Nice to finish like that. I don’t remember the last time I had two eagles in the same round, but it’s definitely exciting.”
Li, who has struggled with his game since COVID exploded in his native China, carded a 65 which included one bogey against six birdies, including a final-hole gain to reach 12-under par.
“First few holes didn’t quite on, especially on my tee shot, but luckily kind of have good recovery back,” said Li.
“But I played great on my back nine holes, a lot of putts, and play super solid.”
Matt Kuchar, who also started his day on No. 10, was treading water with eight straight pars out of the gate, but a birdie on the par-5 18th kicked off an eight-hole stretch of five birdies including a hat trick around the turn (Nos. 18, 1, and 2).
“Yeah, another good day. Probably felt in more control yesterday than today, but found a good number of fairways,” said Kuchar, who won the Sony in 2019.
“When I did miss I tended to have shots, was fortunate.
“But started out I think eight straight pars and put on a good run. I think the front nine here is more gettable than the back nine is, and that’s kind of the way it played out for me today.”
The 43-year-old sits alone in fourth place on 11 under, one clear of Michael Thompson (67) who held down the four spot on 10-under par.
One further back was a logjam of 10 players tied for fifth on 9 under, headlined by reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama (65).
First-round leader Kevin Na chased a 61 with a 1-over 71 and dropped 15 spots, from first to T16.
Sony Open in Hawaii
Top 10: Leaderboard
Pos-Player-Score (Rd 2)
1. Russell Henley -15 (-7)
2. Haotong Li -12 (-5)
3. Matt Kuchar -11 (-5)
4. Michael Thompson -10 (-3)
5. Keita Nakajima (a) -9 (-6)
5. Hideki Matsuyama -9 (-5)
5. Chris Kirk -9 (-5)
5. Brandt Snedeker -9 (-5)
5. Dylan Wu -9 (-4)
5. Davis Riley -9 (-4)
5. Adam Svensson -9 (-3)
5. Corey Conners -9 (-3)
5. Seamus Power -9 (-2)
5. Patton Kizzire -9 (-2)