Gary Woodland simply played the wind better than the rest of the field in the second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the first PGA Tour event of the year.
The 34-year-old Woodland made five straight birdies on the back nine and shot a second straight 6-under-par 67 to take a three-stroke lead over fifth-ranked Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis, eighth-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and first-round leader Kevin Tway on the Plantation Course https://golfatkapalua.com/plantation course at Kapalua Resort on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
“It was frustrating early because I missed some short putts,” said Woodland, who claimed his third PGA Tour victory in the Waste Management Phoenix Open last February by beating Chez Reavie with a par on the first playoff hole. “The wind was tough.
“I missed another shot putt on 9, but then I chipped in on 12 and that got me going. I started hitting it close and it was nice to see the putts start going in on the back nine. I made nothing on the front and got frustrated, but I stepped back, realized I was playing well and just tried to keep it going.
“It’s supposed to be windy again tomorrow, and I just have to keep giving myself some chances.”
Woodland, who birdied the 11th through 15th holes and added another birdie with a five-foot putt on the last hole, recorded a 36-hole score of 12-under 134 in winds that gusted to 40 miles-per-hour.
DeChambeau birdied two of the last four holes to card a 68 that was matched by McIlroy, who birdied four of the last seven holes, while Tway made his first bogey of the tournament on the 17th hole in a 71.
Marc Leishman of Australia bounced back from a triple-bogey 7 on the sixth hole with five birdies coming home and is four back in solo fifth after a 70, while Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State totaled 67 and is one more down in a tie for sixth with Cameron Champ of Sacramento, who finished at 68, and fourth-ranked Justin Thomas, the 2017 TOC champion, who wound up at 72.
Ian Poulter of England birdied three of the last seven holes for a 69 and is six shots behind in a tie for ninth with Jason Day of Australia and Patton Kizzire, who both came in at 71.
Third-ranked Dustin Johnson, the defending champion, stumbled to a 74 and is in a tie for 12th that includes sixth-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, who shot 71, while seventh-ranked Francesco Molinari of Italy is tied for 17th after a 71, top-ranked Brooks Koepka shot 70 and is tied for 27th.
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