Justin Thomas holds a 5-stroke lead at the Sony Open in Hawaii
Justin Thomas follows Thursday’s 59 with a second-round 64 to break the PGA Tour’s 36-hole scoring record
Late in an otherwise splendid afternoon, Justin Thomas walked to the 18th tee on Friday bristling over two wayward swings on his previous hole.
“All my bogeys today were terrible,” Thomas said. “When I was on the 18th tee I was pretty hot. I was pretty fired up, the fact that I had given up shots when I felt like I shouldn’t.”
Three shots later, his outlook was far brighter, having capped a second straight record performance by rolling in an eagle putt.
A day after tearing through Waialae Country Club to become the youngest player to post a 59 in PGA Tour history, Thomas set the tour’s 36-hole scoring record with a 6-under-par 64 to open a five-stroke lead going into today’s third round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.
With only a hint of a cooling breeze, Thomas stayed hot to craft a fine follow-up to his historic opening 18 holes and enters today’s play at 17-under 123 and with the tournament’s widest 36-hole margin since 2001.
Thomas was 1 under for the day after a bogey on No. 8, then strung together four consecutive birdies. Loose irons into greenside bunkers led to bogeys on Nos. 13 and 17. But, as on Thursday, Thomas closed Friday’s round with an eagle.
“It’s just like yesterday — any time you can get your name in the record books or history, I’m very excited about that,” Thomas said. “But … I have two more days to go. So I just need to put it behind me and get ready to try to shoot low this weekend.”
While he credited patience for keeping him in the moment while he continued to collect birdies, Thomas gave back a shot after flying the pin from the bunker on No. 17 to set up his third bogey of the day.
After hitting his drive into the left rough on the 18th, 212 yards from the hole, he drilled a 7-iron that settled inside of 9 feet from the pin.
“I knew it was a jumper. The main thing was just trying to get it between those two bunkers,” Thomas said, “because I knew if I did that it was going to go somewhere around the green and just two-putt birdie and get out of there.”
He did one better in rolling in his eagle putt to extend his lead on the pack.
“I didn’t feel too much today,” Thomas said of avoiding a post-59 letdown “I just felt like it was another round of golf and I need to try to build on my lead and see how low I could go today.”
Thomas, ranked 12th in the world, is chasing his third win in his last five starts and is 39 under through six rounds in Hawaii. He mastered the hilly Plantation Course at Kapalua to win the SBS Tournament of Champions at 22 under and picked apart Waialae’s far flatter layout over the past two days.
“It’s definitely the best of my career,” the 23-year-old said of his current run. “I definitely haven’t shown the world my best golf. I haven’t even shown the world great golf, or consistent great golf. … I think
I’m just trending up and hopefully — wanting to show everyone in the world what I have.”
Gary Woodland maintained contact with Thomas for much of the day in extending his run of rounds in the 60s at Waialae to nine with his second straight 6-under 64. Woodland strung together five consecutive birdies and will tee off with Thomas at 1 p.m. today at 12 under for the tournament.
“I didn’t hit it as well as I did (Thursday) but got off to a rocky start,” Woodland said. “I really kind of settled in and I had it going. I had a lot of chances to go lower than I did, but I’m happy with where I’m at.
“(Thomas is) obviously playing great golf. … Me and JT are good friends and we’ll have a good time.”
Hudson Swafford moved to 10 under Friday morning and will also play in today’s lead group. Olympic gold
medalist Justin Rose moved to 10 under with a 64 and is joined by 2009 champion Zach Johnson, who fired a 9-under 61, the lowest of his 40 rounds at Waialae.
Jordan Spieth, the former world No. 1, found himself in similar positions with
Thomas from tee to green in their second round together, but struggled to make up ground on the greens. He needed 31 putts on Thursday and another 30 on Friday, closing with a nearly 14-footer for birdie on No 18 to get to 8 under.
“I’ve taken care of a lot of
the ball-striking statistics we were trying to improve on this year,” Spieth said. “Striking the ball tremendously well last week and this week, and I’ve just had a really cold putter this week.”
Hideki Matsuyama, the world’s sixth-ranked player, enters the weekend tied for
23rd at 7 under after a 67 on Friday.
Defending champion Fabian Gomez shot a 66 and enters the weekend at 5 under and tied for 48th.
Two-time champion Jimmy Walker’s round of 67 wasn’t enough to get him into the weekend and
missed the cut at 2 under. Brandt Snedeker, who lost to Fabian Gomez in a playoff last year, also finished the week at 2 under.
Past champions Jerry Kelly (2 under), David Toms (even), Johnson Wagner (1 over) and KJ Choi (2 over) also did not make the cut.
Justin Thomas blasted out of the bunker on 16 in the second round of the Sony Open In Hawaii on Friday, leading to one of his three bogeys. Below, Thomas unleashed a 319-yard drive on the first hole. He is averaging 310.4 yards on his drives in the tournament.
Daniel Berger, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas walked off the 18th tee on Friday. Spieth hit it the farthest at 319 yards, but Berger was the only one to find the fairway with a 318-yard blast. Thomas settled for a 301-yard drive on his way to an eagle to his partners’ birdies.