Sony Open, Russell Henley Hijacks the Lead

Russell Henley / Hugh Gentry/Reuters

Russell Henley hijacked the second round lead in the Sony Open in Hawaii, from his friend and first round leader Scott Langley, with another round of -7 under par 63. The two rookies continue to defy all the odds and dominate the leaderboard between them. Russell, who is just  two days into his PGA Tour career is already in the record books, breaking the 36-hole tournament scoring record by two shots, at -14 under par and a total of 126, the previous 36-hole record at the Sony Open was 128, shared by five players, most recently John Cook in 2002.

Russell said it all seems a bit unreal;

” It’s pretty surreal.”

The two Scotts, Langley and Piercy are now tied two shots behind on -12 under par, Scott Langley followed his opening round 62, with a second round of 66, and Scott Piercy had another round of 64, both players total 128.

Scott Langley admitted it was hard to match his amazing first round 62;

“It’s never easy to back up a really good round, I kind of got off to a little slower start, but it was certainly nice to finish the way I did and kind of get back in it with Russ. He played so well, and I was just trying to keep pace as much as I can. To finish that way was really good.”

Scott Piercy had to admit he knew very little about the two new rookies;

” It’s Russell something and Langley?  I think Russell won when he was in college, right? Hey, they’re playing well. I think I played in five final groups as a rookie and didn’t come through. There’s a learning curve, but maybe their curve is quicker than mine.”

Matt Kuchar is in fourth place alone on -11 under par, with his second round score of -7 under par, 63. Matt was real happy with the conditions here at the Waialae Country Club in  Honolulu, coming from last weeks windy weather in Maui;

” Coming from last week, it feels really easy out there, this course, is not as simple as it seems, it’s one of the tougher courses on tour. If you’re not playing well, you’re going to make some bogeys. I understand the wind is supposed to really die down over the weekend, so I certainly expect low scoring. The course is in great shape, greens are beautiful, so there’s going to be a lot more birdies and your foot has definitely got to be down on the pedal.”

One sad note today, Dustin Johnson who won last week at Kapalua, withdrew after nine holes today, suffering from the flu. Dustin will now not  get a chance to match Ernie Els as the only players to sweep the two Hawaii events.

He said of his malaise;

” I feel like I’m coming down with whatever my caddie’s got, just not feeling well. Stomach hurts, headache, tired.”

I think that as long as Scott and Russell are paired together one of them will win this tournament  they are helping each other and are not too bothered about the rest of the field. But if they are split up for the last round, competing against a seasoned Tour professional, then the going will get a little tougher coming down the stretch on Sunday.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions, it was a long haul, but Dustin Johnson wins

Hyundai TOC

Johnson wins in Hawaii

Dustin Johnson / Christian Peterson / Getty Images

Dustin Johnson fired a five-under 68 on another blustery day and a long haul at the Kapalua Resort, fighting the wild and windy Plantation Course, Hawaii, to finish four shots clear of defending champion Steve Stricker.

Dustin posted a 16-under par total at the weather wrecked event that was trimmed to three rounds and which forced the officials into to a rare Tuesday finish because of relentless howling winds that did not allow the first round to be played until Monday.

Dustin was full of confidence for the coming year with this win;

“It gives me a lot of confidence going into this year. It was nowhere near ho-hum, I had to really fight hard. The chip on 14 was definitely the biggest shot, maybe the drive; the drive set it up all. I hit a great drive right at the flag, which came up just short, and I had a really easy pitch. Fortunate to hit a great pitch and it went right in the middle.”

Dustin  has now won PGA TOUR events in six straight years, since coming out of college, Tiger Woods is the only other golfer who can make that claim, and only Phil Mickelson, who has won events the last nine years, has a longer annual streak. That is illustrious company to be mixing with.

When asked what he expected for the future, Dustin said;

” I don’t really look ahead that far, I kind of go week-to-week. I’m looking at next week where I want to go in and play three good rounds and then contend on Sunday for another victory, that’s my goal. If I keep playing golf like I’m playing right now, then, you know, obviously there is no limit.”

Steve Stricker finished alone in second place at -12 under par, not bad for a man limping along on one leg, he had accepted defeat on the 14th hole;

” He’s very athletic and he’s just going to continue to get better. That’s going to be the fun part watching what he’s going to do from here on out, because he looks unflappable out there. He hit a couple wayward drives and opened the door for me a little bit, and then he stepped up there with a driver again, and I’m like, OK. But then he piped it and chips it in. It looks like very little fear in him, because he’ll hit one a little crooked, but he’ll pull out that driver again and try it again, and he pulled it off, especially at 14. That was the deciding shot and chip for the tournament. Expect a lot of good things as he continues his career.”

Brandt Snedeker was in third place at -10 under par for the tournament, six shots behind the leader Dustin Johnson, but he moved to No. 8 in the World Golf Rankings, second only to Tiger Woods among the Americans.

Chaos at Kapalua, Dustin Johnson Leads, going into Tough Tuesday.

Title Tuesday?

Dustin Johnson / Stan Badz/ PGA Tour

Dustin Johnson leads the weather wrecked Hyundai Tournament of Champions, at the Kapalua Plantation Course, in Hawaii. It is now Monday, with 18 holes still to be played. Dustin leads Steve Stricker by three shots with his tournament total of -11 under par, with rounds of 69 and 66.

Dustin only missed three greens in regulation, but had a couple of three putts, he said;

“I hit the ball really well this afternoon. I’m pretty pleased with my equipment, I’m pretty pleased with my game right now.”

Steve Stricker, now at -8 under par for the tournament, has recently been suffering from a constant pain problem, but thinks it is going to be tough for Dustin  to win from the front;

“Nobody knows if it’s a muscle with pressure on the sciatic nerve or if there’s a problem with a disk, my back feels great. I don’t feel tight, I don’t feel stiff. Just every time I get over to my left side, I’m getting a shooting pain down my leg. I’m not hitting it full strength and I’m just trying to keep it in front of me and play the smart shots. It felt as crappy on the first hole as the last hole. You’ve just got to go out and play and play your hardest and see what happens, I’ve been in that position where he’s at now. It’s a tough spot. It’s tough to win in front. We’ve got really nothing to lose tomorrow and it makes it a little bit easier for us, but tougher on him.”

Bubba Watson is alone in third place at -7 under par for the tournament, and  will be trying to win in his sixth straight season since leaving college, the longest streak of any player since Tiger Woods, and remember he won the last two 54-hole events on the PGA TOUR, at the hurricane-shortened Barclays in 2011 and rain-delayed AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 2009. Bubba is pretty happy with his position in this weather wrecked tournament;

“Just happened to win those two events, I’ve still got 18 more holes of golf. It wouldn’t matter if it was 72 holes or 54. Tomorrow is still the last round and there’s 18 holes to play, so got to get the job done.” 

So its last round, Tough Tuesday at crazy Kapalua, in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

 

 

Wind the Winner at Kapalua

 

The Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course on Maui. Hawaii was forced to cancel the first round on Saturday, due to high winds.  PGA TOUR officials hope to get in 36 holes Sunday, and play 18 on Monday’s final day, declaring a champion after 54 holes.

Slugger White, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules and operations explained;

“We got balls rolling all over the green, so we have canceled play for the day.”

It was the same story on Friday, the opening round was wiped out with the first group through eight holes. Three groups did not tee off after an official saw Carl Pettersson’s 40-foot putt on the second green get blown 30 feet past the hole and off the green.

Slugger added;

” Forecast for tomorrow is a little better, 15- to 25-mph with gusts, maybe, to 30. A little less moisture, more like pineapple showers than these downpours that we have had.”

Brandt Snedeker has not played an official shot for 2013, he is playing in the final group alongside defending champion Steve Stricker ,and they did not tee off Friday. Brandt said he was happy with the officials’ decision;

“Yeah, they did do the right thing, it’s just a little too windy out there for us to play.  If the course wasn’t so exposed, it wouldn’t be a problem, but you have a lot of greens exposed to 40-mile-an-hour wind gusts. It’s tough to make that call, they did the right thing. We had to try to play today if we wanted to try to get 72 holes in. Unfortunately a short day, but hopefully get out tomorrow and get some golf.”

Hunter Mahan reported that the 30 players were trying to take the delays in stride;

“It’s difficult, we are in such a cool place and we can’t really do much. It’s strange when you go down the road 10 minutes or 15, 20 minutes and it’s great, it looks beautiful over there but for some reason right here, it’s tough. It’s difficult to figure out if you want to go hit balls right now or wait till later or what you want to do. I think we all are trying to figure out what to do and what’s the best plan for us to get ready for the next two days or three days.”

I can sympathize with those guys, I understand what it is like with those winds. Here at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Course, in New Zealand, the winds have been blowing pretty constantly for a couple of months, playing to your handicap recently has been a rarity.

See you Sunday

Kapalua / Getty Images