Marc Leishman finds himself just three from the lead at the halfway stage of the Sony Open in Honolulu, his bogey free second round of 65 having him in a share of 7th as the event heads into the weekend.
After his solid start yesterday, Leishman began well today with two early birdies in his opening three holes but it took another seven holes before a birdie at the 10th advanced his cause and he finished strongly.
Leishman struggled through the latter stages of the 2020 events on the PGA Tour but he is keen to put that form behind him and to start afresh.
“I’m feeling good over the ball,” said Leishman. “Sort of just got rid of all that bad stuff out of my head. Ready to think about the good stuff.
“I was even through eight yesterday and got myself back in it. When you can play like that early on but still shoot 4-under, that’s pleasing. I’ve shot myself out of a lot of tournaments early, especially the end of last year. Yeah, happy to fight like that and follow it up with a good one today.
“I’m happy with how I’m hitting it and how I’m putting and everything like that. To shoot two rounds like that, happy with it. Good to be back here in Hawai’i and excited for the next two days.”
The leader is the Canadian, Nick Taylor, who has two victories to his name on the PGA Tour, the last of those coming at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am last year.
His round of 62 is the best of the week to date and was made even more meritorious given he was 1 over par through 5 holes of round two.
“I played well here last year although it was completely different conditions,” said the 32 year old Taylor.
“It was really windy. It was wet. I’ve always liked here. In the past I’ve come here a little rusty. I’m usually back in Canada for December.
“Playing last week in Maui helps getting the rust off and I went there quite early, as well that. Helped me out, just shaking rust off.”
Aaron Baddeley remained in touch with his round of 68 to be four from the lead and tied for 15th. He recovered from an early bogey but a mid-round slump threatened danger before three late birdies kept him in the thick of things.
Baddeley reiterated his comments of yesterday when suggesting his most recent form was not as bad as the results suggested.
“That was the weirdest thing about this stretch,” he said. “I never felt I was struggling. Like I can tell you one time, I was like, man, I really feel like I’m battling or I felt like — always felt like I was shooting the highest score I could shoot.
“Then starting to work with Butch, we had a real plan in place. Instead of going out to the course and it feels good, try this, try that, and with Butch, it was like, let’s this and this, and that’s it.
“So every day, I go out, got the plan, I see it getting better every day. I mean, my driving is so much better, my irons are so much better and everything is just so much better and I’m able to free it up so much more. So that way when I do feel nervous, just feel like, hey. Trust the work you’ve done and free it up.”
Of the other Australians, defending champion Cameron Smith and Adam Scott are one shot behind Baddeley and well enough placed heading into the weekend.
Cameron Davis is another shot back and Matt Jones two behind Davis.
Leader, Nick Taylor, (right) fist bumps playing partner today – Photo Getty Images Cliff Hawkins