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Rookies Going Low in First Two Days of Sony Open; Veterans Lurk
The par-70 Waialea Country Club in Honolulu has been a shooting gallery through 36 holes of the $5.6 million Sony Open. The tree-lined course, which measures just over 7,000 yards - relatively short by today's PGA Tour standards, has yielded many under-par scores, with a pair of 63s by Russell Henley pushing the Tour rookie into the lead at midway through the second round.
The 23-year-old former University of Georgia player, who in 2011 became only the second amateur to win on the Nationwide (now Web.com) Tour, stands at 14-under 126, two strokes lower than first-round leader Scott Langley. After opening with a 62 Langley, another Tour rookie, posted a 66 to reach 128, as did Scott Piercy, who posted his second straight 64.
Matt Kuchar followed up his opening 66 with a 63 for solo fourth. The four-PGA Tour winner had four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 18th.
Henley was paired in the first two rounds with Langley and Luke Guthrie, another first-year player who shot a 71 and 76 this week. Henley said after the first round that being with two players his age has been a big boost.
"We've played a lot of competitive golf against each other, and it's high stakes, and I got out there on the Web.com Tour, and that's the best thing that's ever happened to me is playing a full year out there and learning a lot about myself. I'm just excited to be here.
Added the 2011 member of both the Walker and Palmer cup teams on Thursday, "You know, I think there was a lot of nerves for me the first few holes and I think playing with Scotty and Luke was huge for me, and watching them play well kind of gave me a goal to try to keep up with them, so it was definitely fun feeding off them."
Chris Kirk also enjoyed a fine outing Friday with a 62. The one-time PGA Tour winner and another Georgia grad posted four birdies and two eagles to get to 10-under 130. Tim Clark, a 37-year-old South African whose only win came in the 2010 Players Championship, is tied with Kirk after rounds of 64 and 66 as is Charles Howell III, who's shot 66 and 64.
Other low scores included a 63 by veteran Pat Perez, which moved him to 131. John Daly shot 70 and 68 to make the cut of 2-under. For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/sony-open-in-hawaii/leaderboard.html.