Sony Open

Har­man leads by 3 strokes

The Maui News - - FRONT PAGE - By DOUG FER­GU­SON

HONOLULU — Dif­fer­ent is­lands, vastly dif­fer­ent golf cour­ses, same good play from Brian Har­man.

One week af­ter Har­man shared the 36-hole lead at Ka­palua, he ran off three straight birdies and closed with a 15-foot ea­gle putt for a

7-un­der 63 and a three-shot lead go­ing into the week­end at the Sony Open.

Har­man was at 13-un­der

127, and no one could catch him on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

Chris Kirk, who shared the 18hole lead with Har­man, opened by pitch­ing in from 25 yards for ea­gle on No. 10. He ended his day by driv­ing into the canal on the easy par-5 ninth and mak­ing bo­gey for a 67.

Kirk was three be­hind along with Zach John­son (67), John Peter­son (64), Tom Hoge (65) and PGA Tour rookie Talor Gooch.

Ex­cept for the trop­i­cal warmth, the two golf cour­ses on the Hawaii swing are noth­ing alike. The Plan­ta­tion Course at Ka­palua was built on the side of the moun­tain on the west tip of Maui and fea­tures fair­ways that can stretch nearly 90 yards wide and big slopes in the greens.

Wa­ialae is at sea level — waisthigh hedges along the 16th and 17th holes and be­hind the 11th green are all that sep­a­rate grass from the beach — with smaller, flat­ter greens and fair­ways framed by trees.

“The big­gest el­e­va­tion change here is from the walk down from the ho­tel,” Har­man said. “I’ve al­ways kind of felt like as long as there’s fair­ways and greens and holes to putt it, then I’m go­ing to be fine.”

The Ge­or­gia na­tive, who tied for third at the Sen­try Tour­na­ment of Cham­pi­ons, is play­ing just as well on Oahu as he did on Maui.

He surged ahead in the morn­ing with two quick birdies on the back nine, made the turn in 32 and ran off three straight birdies early on the front nine. Af­ter mak­ing his only bo­gey from a bunker on the par-3 sev­enth, Har­man hit 7-iron from 172 yards to 15 feet on No. 9 for a clos­ing ea­gle.

It’s all just golf to him.

“I’m mak­ing putts, but I’m also putting my­self in po­si­tion to make those putts,” he said. “I’m get­ting a bunch of looks. I’m not mak­ing ev­ery­thing I’m look­ing at, but I’m hit­ting a lot of good putts and made a few. I’m just go­ing to show up to­mor­row and try to hit the first tee shot best you can and go from there.”

On an­other glo­ri­ous day of sunshine and good scor­ing con­di­tions, John­son had a nine­hole stretch of eight pars and a bo­gey un­til a strong fin­ish. He birdied the par-3 sev­enth and closed with an ea­gle to sal­vage a 67.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Justin Thomas was closer to the cut line than the lead un­til he made a trio of 8-foot putts — two for birdies, one for ea­gle — to close out a 67. He was seven shots be­hind.

Jor­dan Spi­eth made the long­est putt of his PGA Tour ca­reer — just over 90 feet on No. 5 — but didn’t give him­self many good looks. Spi­eth birdied the last hole for a 68 and was 10 shots be­hind.

“I didn’t think I had enough club,” Spi­eth said of his long putt. “I con­sid­ered hit­ting a lob wedge be­cause I had some­thing like 30 yards to the hole into the breeze.”

The cut was at 2-un­der 138. Among those miss­ing the cut was Ki­hei’s Eric Du­gas, whose sec­ond straight 71 — his round in­cluded two birdies and three bo­geys — left him at 2over 142.

AP photo

Brian Har­man putts on the 13th green dur­ing the sec­ond round of the Sony Open on Fri­day.

AP photo

Jor­dan Spi­eth watches his shot from the first tee dur­ing the sec­ond round Fri­day.

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