LOS ANGELES: Brandt Snedeker continued his strong start to 2016 on Friday (Saturday in Manila), firing a five-under par 65 to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Snedeker, part of a five-way tie for the first-round lead, was impressive on the greens. He rolled in a 15-footer at his opening hole, the 10th and picked up another birdie at the par-five 18th.
He chipped in from 35 feet at the third, and poured in a 20-foot birdie putt at four before capping his round with a six-foot birdie at Waialea Country Club’s ninth.
His 12-under total of 128 gave him a one-shot lead over fellow American Kevin Kisner, whose 66 was highlighted by an eagle at his finishing hole, the ninth.
British Open champion Zach Johnson had five birdies in his four-under 66 for 130.
He was joined at 10-under by England’s former world number one Luke Donald and American Zac Blair, who both carded their second straight 65s, and Chez Reavie, who climbed up the leaderboard with a seven-under 63 that included seven birdies.
Snedeker, a seven-time winner on the US PGA Tour, is coming off a tie for third at last week’s Tournament of Champions at Kapalua — a solid finish that followed missed cuts in his two previous starts.
“This is why we spend so much time away from our families as well as so much time on the golf course, [working]to be in contention and have a chance to win at the weekend,” he told the Golf Channel.
After floundering late last season, Snedeker went to work with swing coach Butch Harmon. The move is paying dividends, although Snedeker said change wasn’t easy.
“It felt really awkward and uncomfortable, and I thought there would be some growing pains with it, some kind of foul balls here and there that just kind of come when you make a swing change,” he said.
“I played a bunch of practice rounds at Maui and that kind of helped me get more comfortable with it.
“[I] feel way more comfortable with it this week and excited about it because the bad shots haven’t been near as bad as they had been.”
Fiji’s Vijay Singh, 52, signed for a one-under par 69 that left him four off the lead and still in the hunt to become the oldest ever winner on the US PGA Tour.
Jimmy Walker, seeking an unprecedented third Waialea title, was nine off the lead after a second-round 68.