Shigeki Maruyama? Stuart Appleby? What year is it? 2001? Playing the morning wave at Waialae Country Club, Maruyama shot another five-under 65 to take the clubhouse lead early in the second round of the Sony Open. With blustery conditions developing in the afternoon, Appleby posted an impressive four-under 66 to tie him at 10-under at the event’s halfway mark.
With the first round rained out, the guys will play 36 holes on Sunday. The field was cut to the nearest number to 60 following the second round, which turned out to be 56 players at 3-under. 27 players would have advanced under normal circumstances, but hey, they still make some money and get a day off!
Will guys have a tough time getting through 36? I mean, Maruyama is 41 and Appleby is pushing 40! Appleby doesn’t think it’ll be a problem. (After all, it’s just golf — but it actually is mentally straining.)
“Physically not a big challenge,” said Appleby. “I think no one will really have any problems if they’re a little bit injured and things need a rest. Obviously going 36 might be a little bit hard. I’m not sure how many players there are under that cloud. Absolutely mentally it’ll be a good test. You’ll have to certainly try and make the first shot you’re thinking the same way or at the end of the day at least thinking better than you were when you started the day.”
Meanwhile, Maruyama, who is making his 13th start at this event on a sponsor’s exemption and looking for his fourth PGA Tour victory, is a little more concerned.
“I’m getting older, and 36 holes is going to be a struggle tomorrow, so I’m just kind of just taking it easy and let it come,” he said. “I’ve played quite a few 36-holers in Japan because of the rain and they postpone and a lot of other times we have to play 36 on Sunday.”
The trio of Roland Thatcher, Steve Marino and Mark Wilson trailed the co-leaders by two shots.
Anthony Kim fired the low-round of the tournament with a six-under 64. “It was a lot better today,” said AK. “I still missed probably four or five putts inside of seven or eight feet, and I’ve got to clean that up. But I’m getting the hang of it and I’m starting to roll the ball better.
“My game is really coming around. I’m driving it well. Unfortunately, I’m hitting one or two squirrely shots a round and that’s costing me, but I’m getting better, and that’s all I can afford.”
In other words, AK needs to find consistency. We’ll see if he can put two good rounds together.
Low rookie after two rounds is crazy cliff-jumper Nate Smith, who grinded out a two-under 68, good enough for T6 at seven-under for the tournament. He drained a seven-footer for birdie on the last hole to finish strong. After his round, he made a run for the driving range. “I need to hit some drives,” Nate said. (On his first nine — he started on 10 — he only missed one fairway by my count, but hopefully he got it straightened out.)
When Nate and Chris Kirk were teeing off No. 12, a roar came from No. 17. I figured someone drained a long putt, but when I turned around, no one was on the green! Shaun Micheel posted the first ace of the year with a 6-iron on the par-3 17th.
Tee times kick off at 7am with double tees on Sunday. The threesomes will probably have just enough time to grab a sandwich before starting the final 18. Groups won’t be re-paired.
Get ready for a marathon!
(AP Photo/Marco Garcia)