The Kona winds continued to blow, the greens stayed slow by PGA Tour standards but the play by the leaders was strong after the first two rounds at the Tournament Of Champions. Here’s how things are looking at the halfway mark:
Marc Leishman continues to show why he’s considered a really good wind player. The top-ranked Aussie in the world (12th, ahead of Jason Day at 13), reached the 10-under par mark with a closing birdie at 18 on Friday.
Brian Harman is the shortest player in the field but he’s been tall on shot-making talent. Like Leishman, he birdied the 18th to tie for the 36-hole lead.
Dustin Johnson is lurking just a shot back. Giving his length and the fact he’s adjusting to the slower speed of the controversial greens, he looks well positioned to be right in the hunt come Sunday’s final round. There’s a reason he’s No. 1 in the world.
Jordan Spieth rallied from a pathetic first round 75. He shot 66 and declared “less is more” after his comeback. “I put in less than an hour of practice before I played. I played with feel and was less technical. I need to shoot around 10-under par over the weekend to have a chance.
Justin Thomas, the defending champion, has been pancake-flat the first two rounds. After shooting 71-75, it’s pretty obvious he won’t repeat as the winner of this event.
The winds continued to be a factor and should remain a factor over the final two rounds. They could be strongest on Sunday to make things really interesting.
Pat Perez is showing that last season was no fluke. He’s just two shots back at eight-under par, tied with Chris Stroud and Jonny Vegas. Stroud tied Spieth for low round of the day (66).
Rickie Fowler wasn’t as impressive in the second round, still, he’s just four back but needs to play better over the final 36 holes to contend on Sunday.
Hideki Matsuyama was overwhelmed by Brooks Koepka in an Asian event late last season and questioned his ability compared to Koepka. Well, Koepka is doing everything he can to boost Matsuyama’s confidence. Hideki is tied with Fowler at six-under while Koepka has looked awful the first two days with rounds of 78-74 that have left him tied for the cellar spot with D.A. Points.