Sony Open

Kuchar jumps into lead

The Maui News - - FRONT PAGE - By DOUG FER­GU­SON The As­so­ci­ated Press

HONOLULU — The easy­go­ing vibe in Hawaii is a per­fect fit for Matt Kuchar, who spends as much as a month at a time in the is­lands when his sched­ule al­lows.

The Sony Open is more about work than play, and he’s hav­ing just as much fun.

Kuchar ran off four birdies in five holes to start his sec­ond round Fri­day, han­dled the par 5s at Wa­ialae Coun­try Club again and fin­ished with an­other round of 7-un­der 63 to take a one-shot lead over An­drew Put­nam.

“To shoot 7 un­der back-to-back is un­ex­pected, but aw­fully ex­cited,” Kuchar said with the same smile he wears for most any oc­ca­sion.

Kuchar was at 14-un­der 126, match­ing the low­est 36-hole score of his PGA Tour ca­reer. He also had a 126 in Las Ve­gas in 2008.

Put­nam, play­ing in the af­ter­noon, had a bo­gey-free 65 and was one shot be­hind. Chez Reavie (65) and Ste­wart Cink (62) were four be­hind.

Jor­dan Spi­eth had a short week af­ter a long break from golf. In his 2019 de­but, Spi­eth had a 66 and missed the cut by one shot. Need­ing to birdie the last four holes to qual­ify for the week­end, Spi­eth ran off two birdies, missed a 10-foot birdie putt and then nar­rowly missed chip­ping in for ea­gle.

“I loved the fight,” Spi­eth said. “I feel like I was try­ing to win the tour­na­ment try­ing to make the cut, which is not some­thing I want to get used to.”

He re­turns in two weeks at Tor­rey Pines.

No one had a more mem­o­rable round than Reavie. He holed out for ea­gle three times from the fair­way — a sand wedge from 101 yards on No. 10 at the start of his round, a 9iron from 149 yards on No. 16 and a gap wedge from 135 yards on No. 6.

The PGA Tour only be­gan keep­ing hole-by-hole records in 1983, and no one had ever made three eagles in one round on par 4s since then. Reavie didn’t think all that much about it un­til he piped a drive on No. 8 and hit a wedge that cov­ered the flag.

“It was on a good line, and that was the only time it crossed my mind — ‘Wow, could we make an­other one?’ ” he said. “The other two, I just hit the shot I was try­ing to see and it was go­ing at the hole. Never ex­pected it to go in. It’s al­ways a sur­prise when it dis­ap­pears.”

So odd was this round that Reavie made more eagles than birdies, and the one shot that made him think the ball might go in the hole led to a par.

“Ap­par­ently, I need to go buy a lot­tery ticket to­day,” Reavie said.

That would be a good idea, ex­cept Hawaii doesn’t have a lot­tery. For now, he has to fig­ure out how to make up four shots on Kuchar.

Cink made nine birdies in his round of 62. Marc Leish­man (64) and Ted Pot­ter Jr. (65) were at 9-un­der 131.

AP photo

Matt Kuchar waves af­ter mak­ing birdie on the ninth green dur­ing the sec­ond round of the Sony Open on Fri­day.

AP pho­tos

TOP PHOTO: Chez Reavie hits onto the ninth green Fri­day. BOT­TOM PHOTO: Jor­dan Spi­eth low­ers his cap af­ter miss­ing his birdie putt on the ninth green.

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