Golf

Russell Henry surges to three-shot lead at Sony Open as Kevner pulls out

Honolulu – Russell Henry The goal was set at the Sony Open on Friday, with a 30-foot eagle putt that capped off a big finale with no one able to catch him.

Nine years after Henry opened his rookie season on the PGA Tour by winning the Sony Open, he shot a 7-under 63 on his final six holes for a three-shot lead. Haotong Li China’s. Only two other players were within five strokes of the lead.

After an 18-hole lead, most of the morning was waiting Kevinna Start to fade, as many as five players have at least a modest lead.

Henry hit an eagle in a greenside bunker on the par-5 18th, only to miss the long green, bogeying a tough first hole into the back bunker. Then he can’t miss it. He caught two par 3s within 10 feet of the front nine, made a pair of 12-foot birdie putts and finished with an eagle.

“It’s nice to end this way,” Henry said. “I don’t remember the last time I had two Eagles in the same round, but it was definitely exciting.”

That put him at 15-under 125 in yet another week of low scores, with little to no wind at Waiale. It’s an intimidating sign for those trying to stay within range.

“The last time I looked before I started was at 11 o’clock [under], so I thought, ‘This is doable,'” the Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama Say through a translator. “But halfway through, I realized it was 15. Yeah, it’s hard to play when you’re that far behind.”

Matsuyama shot a 65 and entered the big group at 9-under 131, which included Keita Nakajima, the world’s No. 1 amateur with a 64, and Brant Snedek (65).

“It’s hard not to press,” said Snedek, who was 11 shots behind on the tee. “But you realize it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Cut to 135, 5 under par, tying the 1998 Sony Open record. Rory SabatiniThe Slovak Olympic silver medalist missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

Matt Kuchar, who had been in Hawaii since four days before Christmas and sounded in no rush to leave, shot a 65 four shots behind. Michael Thompson Shot 67 in the afternoon, 130 within five, and 10 under.

Waialae is where it all started at Henley. He started his rookie season at the Sony Open in 2013, when he set a 36-hole record of 126 and lasted longer. Scott Langley Win the weekend duel. Henry had previously won on the National Tour while still in Georgia.

Simple game, right?

“I quickly realized it was really hard,” said Henry, who started his career with three wins in his 10th year on the tour. “My first year, my second year, I mean, there were a lot of ups and downs every year. After the first, I remember thinking it was probably easier than I thought.”

He added with a laugh: “But that’s not the case.”

Another beautiful day on the Pacific coast that sometimes feels easy, with little wind, tropical warmth, and pure green. The flat club is probably his best, and Henry’s skill on the 6-footer is as deft as some of his birdies.

Li has had some big moments in his career, most notably at Harding Park in 2020, when he became the first Chinese player to remain in the lead after any round of a major. He led by 2 points in that PGA Championship until his retirement at the weekend.

He also played in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne at the end of 2019, although it didn’t go well, starting with the practice round, his backup caddie got lost and he decided to go to the clubhouse while Lee was playing for coffee from another player out of the bag. He lost two games.

After ditching contact lenses for designer glasses, he held steady for the 65 rounds, allowing him to race the weekend with a sponsor waiver.

Na opened with a 61 and had a worst 10 the next day. He didn’t birdie until the ninth hole and kept burning the edge on the putt. Some of the putts he nearly missed on Thursday were for birdies below the 60th round. They tied on Friday, giving him a one-shot lead after the opening round and seven behind Henry.

Jim Furyk, 51, the 1996 Sony Open champion, also has a 10-shot gap. He opened with a 62 and didn’t make a birdie until a 72 on the final hole.

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