Snedeker pulls into second-round lead at Sony
HONOLULU — A new driver, a new swing and Brandt Snedeker is starting to feel just like new.
Coming off a great weekend at Kapalua, Snedeker played bogey-free Friday and rolled in a couple of long birdie putts that carried him to a 5-under 65 and a one-shot lead over Kevin Kisner midway through the second round of the Sony Open.
Snedeker was at 12-under 128.
"I feel like I'm playing great, so it should be fun," Snedeker said about the weekend at Waialae.
Kiser kept his wits even as his putts kept missing. He missed three birdie chances inside 10 feet in his opening 11 holes, and had several others in the 15-foot range that caught part of the lip. But he hung in there long enough to stick his approach 4 feet below the cup on No. 6, and he ended with a 12-foot eagle putt for a 66.
Kisner was a runner-up in the HSBC Champions and won the RSM Classic at Sea Island in his final two tournaments of 2015, and he started the new year by finishing ninth at Kapalua on a weekend where his putter went cold.
British Open champion Zach Johnson had a 66 and was two shots back, while Scott Piercy had a 66 and was three shots behind. The top four on the leaderboard all began the new year at Kapalua last week.
Dating to his final two rounds on Maui — 65-67 to tie for third — Snedeker is 26 under over his last 72 holes. That beats the way he finished the up last year. He went to the Australian PGA Championship and opened with an 84.
He made a full commitment to an overhaul of his setup, and Snedeker said he worked hard with Butch Harmon and then showed up in Maui early, playing a couple of practice rounds with Jordan Spieth. And it helped that Kapalua's fairways are among the widest in golf.
"Maui being wide open off the tee a little bit helped me get comfortable with it," Snedeker said. "And then I realized this week ... how it feels, what should happen, and when I do hit a bad shot, I kind of know where it comes from. So I feel way more comfortable with it this week and excited about it, because the bad shots haven't been near as bad as they have been."
Two-time defending champion Jimmy Walker finished with nine straight pars for a 68 to finish on 3-under 137, which appear to be assure him making the cut. He was nine back.
Vijay Singh, who opened with a 63 for part of a five-way share of the lead, played in the afternoon.
Kisner and Snedeker also opened with 63s and they remained tied through 11 holes. And both were right of the fairway on the par-4 third, having to punch out low to avoid the palm trees. Kisner's shot caught a frond and came down short of the green, and he pitched to 5 feet and missed the par putt. Snedeker's shot ran all the way onto the green, and he holed a 35-foot birdie putt for a two-shot lead.
On the par-3 fourth, Snedeker made a 20-foot birdie putt, and then finished with a good chip out of the rough to 4 feet for birdie on the ninth.
Kisner's frustration was starting to get noticeable when he bent over so far that his hands nearly touched his shoes on the fifth, but with that eagle on the ninth, he still was only one shot out of the lead.
"I was proud of the way I stayed patient all day," Kisner said. "That round could have been a few more bogeys if I'd have let not holing any of the putts get to me, but stayed patient, kept hitting good shots and good way to finish it on 9."