Saturday, January 17, 2015

Kuchar, Simpson, Thomas share Sony Open 

lead in Hawaii, Knox three shots behind

Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson played the first two rounds together at the Sony Open, and they'll tee it up together once more in Saturday's final pairing. Here's how things look in Honolulu, where Kuchar and Simpson share the lead along with an upstart rookie:
128 (-12) Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Justin Thomas.
130 Tim Clark, Troy Merritt. 
131 Rory Sabbatini, Russell Knox  66 65
132 Jimmy Walker, Robert Streb
What it means: Kuchar led for much of the afternoon before Simpson caught him with a birdie on the final hole, while Thomas joined the party just before play finished. Simpson remains in contention while using a regulation-length putter for the first time on the US PGA Tour, while Kuchar is in position for his fourth straight top-10 finish at this event.
Round of the day: Thomas closed birdie-birdie-eagle, playing his final five holes in 5 under to card a bogey-free, 9-under 61, the lowest at this event since 2006. The 21-year-old had seven birdies and an eagle across his final 12 holes and now holds a share of the lead on the PGA Tour for the first time.
Best of the rest: After an opening 73, it looked like Jerry Kelly would be slamming his trunk Friday. Instead, Kelly bounced back with an 8-under 62 that moved him to 5 under for the championship and well inside the 36-hole cut line. It marked the lowest round at Waialae for Kelly, a 48-year-old veteran who won this event in 2002.
Biggest disappointment: Paul Casey was out in front after an opening 62, but the Englishman was unable to back it up with another low round. While an even-par 70 is good enough at some Tour stops, it meant that Casey got lapped at Waialae, where the scoring average approached 67 and where Casey dropped four shots off the pace.
Main storyline heading into Saturday: Kuchar and Simpson appear poised for a weekend duel, but members of the pack are sure to challenge and Thomas, who won last year during the Tour Finals, will continue to press them. 
Other likely contenders include Clark, a runner-up here in both 2011 and 2013, and Walker, the defending champ coming off a play-off loss Monday at Kapalua.
Shot of the day: Jhonattan Vegas was flirting with the cut line and had missed the 16th fairway when his fate changed rather quickly. Vegas' approach from the left rough cleared a greenside bunker, took three hops and dropped into the hole after squarely hitting the flagstick. The unexpected eagle took Vegas from 2 under to 4 under and secured his spot in the field this weekend.
Quote of the day: "I drove it really well, and when you drive it well this course becomes much more attackable." - Kuchar





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