Xander Schauffele edges into halway lead in stormy Hawaii
Final hold birdie gives American one stroke advantage as Graeme McDowell shoots 69
Leader Xander Schauffele and caddie Austin Kaiser during the second round in Hawaii. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty
Xander Schauffele sank his fifth birdie of the day on the 18th hole to take a one stroke lead during a wet and windy second round at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii on Friday.
The 26-year-old American fired his second bogey-free round of the tournament to keep his hopes of a title defense alive amid ever-changing weather conditions at the oceanside course.
“This is rain and wind that we don’t really play too often in but fortunately it’s kind of warm,” Schauffele said after his second round 68 to sit nine-under par for the tournament.
“It was an interesting day. I wasn’t thinking about my score because I was trying to stay as dry and warm as possible.”
Graeme McDowell was much improved on Friday, as he crept up the leaderboard with a second round of 69, which included five birdies a single dropped shot.
However the round of the day belonged to another past champion, American Patrick Reed, who mixed eight birdies with a bogey for a seven-under-par 66 and a share of second place with the overnight leader Joaquin Niemann of Chile.
Fellow American Rickie Fowler shot a solid two-under-par 71 to claim sole position of fourth place.
Reed, the tournament’s 2015 champion, entered the first PGA event of the year after two disappointing performances at the end of 2019.
He was assessed a two-stroke penalty at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in early December for appearing to deliberately improve his lie in a bunker and ultimately finished in third place.
At last month’s Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne he posted a disappointing 1-3-0 record as a member of the winning American side but looked on the bright side of his experience in Australia.
“Any time you can go out and play for your country and play for others it means a lot, especially to me,” said Reed, who has also represented the United States at Ryder Cup competitions and is nicknamed Captain America.
The wind is forecast to die down somewhat at the Plantation Course for round three on Saturday.
Collated second round scores & totals in the Sentry Tournament of Champions (USA unless stated, par 73):
137 Xander Schauffele 69 68
138 Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 66 72, Patrick Reed 72 66
139 Rickie Fowler 68 71
140 Justin Thomas 67 73, Patrick Cantlay 69 71
141 Matthew Wolff 69 72, JT Poston 70 71
142 Jon Rahm (Spa) 69 73, Collin Morikawa 71 71, Gary Woodland 73 69, Matt Kuchar 68 74, Nate Lashley 71 71, Lanto Griffin 71 71
143 Dustin Johnson 72 71, Graeme McDowell (NIrl) 74 69, Ryan Palmer 71 72, Corey Conners (Can) 73 70
144 Kevin Kisner 72 72
145 Brendon Todd 71 74, Sung Kang (Kor) 72 73, Adam Long 74 71, Chez Reavie 74 71
146 Paul Casey (Eng) 74 72, Jim Herman 73 73
147 Max Homa 75 72, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 72 75, Tyler Duncan 69 78, Cameron Champ 73 74
148 Keith Mitchell 76 72
149 J.B. Holmes 78 71, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 72 77
150 Kevin Na 76 74
151 Martin Trainer 74 77