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Due to anticipated heavy rain showers late Sunday afternoon (combined with a poor weather forecast on Monday), tee times for the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii will be moved up two hours and run from approximately 8:30 - 10:30 am local time off both sets of tees.
World No. 198 Keith Mitchell earned one of the later tee times off No. 1 tee with a 7-under-par 30-33=63 in the third round to post 14-under 196, up 15 places on the live leaderboard to T4, two back of clubhouse leader and playing competitor Kevin Na (61). He kicked off with 71 and a day-tying-low 62, the latter a career low in 272 rounds (previously 63/R3 here in 2019; finished T16), to begin T19 on 7-under, five short of leader Nick Taylor. The Georgia alum hit nine (of 14) fairways and 13 greens in regulation, losing 0.249 strokes off-the-tee but gaining 1.038 around-the-green. He squared a lone bogey-5 at 16 (penalty off-the-tee), camouflaged by eight birdies at 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 15, three conventionally from between 11 and 35 feet, and also holed out from a greenside bunker from 36'11" away at the par-4 eighth. The Tennessee native posted a stellar 1.462 putts per GIR and 3.122 SG: Putting after a 4.566 SGP in R2. He's chasing his second TOUR win in 85 events, joining the 2019 Honda Classic 45 starts ago as a pre-tourney 200/1 outright, where he came from one back (T2) with 3-under 67 to win by one. This is Mitchell's first time in the top 10 after 54 holes since that victory.
Added 9:02 pm (EST)
Added 9:02 pm (EST)
Chris Kirk tossed together a 5-under-par 33-32=65 during round two of the Sony Open in Hawaii, reaching 10-under 130 at the halfway mark to sit just two shots off the torrid pace set by Nick Taylor.
Kirk started his afternoon on the 10th tee and eased into his round with six straight pars. From there, he picked up the pace with a birdie at the 16th and a 14'5" eagle conversion at the par-5 18th. Long-distance conversions were common today as four of his five par-breakers were knocked home from outside of 10 feet. Kirk has gained 3.554 strokes on approach this week which helps make up for the fact that he's lost more than half a stroke off-the-tee. He's pelted 29 greens so far which is top 20 in the field. Kirk arrived with notable Sony finishes of T5 (2013), 2nd (2014), and T10 (2018). He is on pace for another notable finish this week.
Added Yesterday 11:32 pm (EST)
Abraham Ancer struggled with his short game this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii, settling for rounds of 69-68=137 (-3) to miss the cut on the number.
A total of 73 golfers finished at 4-under or better this week at Waialae Country Club. That is five shots lower than last year's cutline when the event was hit with some tough weather conditions. The field average on Thursday was 68.32 and it was 68.56 today. As for Ancer this week, he lost 1.559 strokes around-the-green (127th) and lost 2.789 strokes putting (124th). He only missed five greens but will pack his bags early because of a cold putter. Other notables to miss the cut this week include 137- Tom Hoge, Erik van Rooyen, Takumi Kanaya; 138- Will Gordon, Matt Kuchar; Henrik Norlander 141- Doug Ghim; 142- Brandt Snedeker.
Added Yesterday 11:03 pm (EST)
Nick Taylor looked shaky to start his day but recovered in a big way, firing an 8-under-par 30-32=62 during round two of the Sony Open in Hawaii, claiming a two-shot lead at the midpoint, heading into the weekend on 12-under 128.
Starting on the 10th tee, Taylor needed three par-savers from outside of seven feet on his first four holes and then dropped a shot at the 14th. That is when the script was flipped because from there his putter caught fire and he also chipped in for eagle at the par-5 18th just before making the turn. By day's end, he had rolled home seven putts from outside of seven feet including a 26'1" birdie splash at the 3rd. That was good for +3.148 strokes putting and he now leads the field in SG Putting on the week (+6.032). This will go in the books as his second career 36-hole lead on the PGA TOUR (2020 Pebble Beach Pro-Am was the first which he'd go on to win). It's also his new Low 36 on TOUR, eclipsing his previous best of 129 which he accomplished twice (2020 Pebble Beach Pro-Am & 2019 RBC Canadian Open). Taylor is searching for his first top 25 since that win at Pebble Beach last year (15 starts without a top 25).
Added Yesterday 10:28 pm (EST)
Billy Horschel steadied a bogey-free, 4-under-par 32-34=66 during day two of the Sony Open in Hawaii, giving him a two-day tally of 9-under 131 which is good for a seat inside of the top 10 on the live leaderboard.
The Florida Gator split just 7-of-14 fairways today after finding eight on day one. He ranks 77th in the field in accuracy but has still managed 29 greens in regulation (T23), proof that his missed fairways haven't been too errant. The real weapon has been his putter as he gained 2.8 strokes putting on day one and another 1.9 strokes putting today. He ranks 3rd in the field in strokes gained putting at the midpoint. Highlights in that regard today include a 21'11" birdie at the 4th and a 32'7" birdie bomb at the 7th. Horschel has not been a frequent visitor to Waialae CC over the years, making just his fourth appearance this week and first since 2017. His previous finishes were MC (2010), T54 (2013), and 68th (2017) but he's probably glad he gave it another chance this week.
Added Yesterday 10:12 pm (EST)
Russell Henley made his move on Friday at the Sony Open in Hawaii, twirling a 6-under-par 32-32=64 to stake his share of the 36-hole clubhouse lead (10-under 130). UPDATE: Henley would later get passed up by Nick Taylor (12-under 128).
The past champ has piped 10 fairways each day but he's not feeling the most confident with that club right now. "I got away with some drives today that I did not hit very well. I'm very thankful for a couple of really good bounces I got but I feel really good with my putter." Speaking of the putter, it was always a strength of his early in his career but his putting performance has declined over the last few years. If he can regain that skill to go along with his lights-out iron play then he'll to flirting with contention a lot this season. If the current co-lead holds then it'll be his fifth career 36-hole lead or co-lead on the PGA TOUR, first since the 2016 Travelers Championship, and second at Waialae CC (2013). Even if he gets passed late in the day, he's still in a good position to strike over the weekend, as long as he can tune up the driver.
Added Yesterday 9:59 pm (EST)
Brendan Steele bobbed and weaved his way to a 4-under-par 32-34=66 during round two of the Sony Open in Hawaii, maintaining a spot inside of the top 10 with a 36-hole tally of 9-under 131.
Steele missed the cut in his 2011 Sony Open debut but he returned last year and played his way into a playoff, eventually losing out to Cameron Smith. Still, a much better experience than his debut. He's off to another strong start this week, pelting 31 greens through two days (T4 in the field). Steele heads into the weekend gaining at least one shot over the field in each of the four sub-categories of strokes gained. That wasn't true today, though, as he struggled with the flat stick. Steele missed three putts from inside of eight feet and also missed a pair of chances from just outside of 12 feet. As a player, he likely feels like he left a boatload of strokes out there today. In reality, he lost 0.516 strokes putting today and is still in a prime position to contend heading into the weekend in a share of seventh place.
Added Yesterday 9:58 pm (EST)
Vaughn Taylor cruised to a 4-under-par 33-33=66 during round two of the Sony Open in Hawaii, staking a claim of the live clubhouse lead on 10-under 130 with play winding down for the day. UPDATE: Taylor and his crew would later get passed up by Nick Taylor who reach the clubhouse at 12-under 128 for the week.
Taylor piped 10-of-14 fairways for the second day in a row. From there, he landed 15 greens in regulation, gaining 1.631 strokes on approach in the process. At the midpoint, he ranks 7th in strokes gained tee-to-green (+4.684) and 29th in putting (+2.123). Taylor is making his 10th appearance at the Sony Open and his previous best is a T12 finish (last year). Before that, he had finished outside of the top 35 in 7-of-8 trips. If this co-lead holds then it'll be his fourth career 36-hole lead or co-lead on the PGA TOUR and first since the 2011 Reno-Tahoe Open. When talking about the course this week he had this to say, "Yeah, this is a great golf course for short hitters. It's a position golf course and evens out the field that way. You just to be in the fairway and be in the right position and you can get some good looks."
Added Yesterday 9:44 pm (EST)