Sat, 27 Feb 2021

Nick Taylor grabs two-shot lead at Sony Open in Hawaii

Field Level Media
16 Jan 2021, 14:40 GMT+10

Canada's Nick Taylor tied for the day's best round on Friday, an 8-under-par 62, and he emerged with a two-shot lead at the midpoint of the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Taylor, who closed with consecutive birdies, sits at 12-under 128 through two rounds at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

Stewart Cink, Webb Simpson, Russell Henley, Vaughn Taylor and Chris Kirk are tied for second at 10-under 130.

Cink claimed a 63 and Henley shot 64 on Friday while Simpson and Kirk carded 65s and Vaughn Taylor posted a 66.

Charley Hoffman (second-round 65), Collin Morikawa (65), Japan's Hideki Matsuyama (65), Australia's Marc Leishman (65), Billy Horschel (66), Peter Malnati (69) and Chile's Joaquin Niemann (69) are tied for seventh at 9 under.

Nick Taylor, 32, is seeking his third career PGA Tour title. He won the 2015 Sanderson Farms Championship and the 2020 ATT Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

His round was highlighted by a 67-yard chip-in for eagle at par-5 18th hole, ending the first half of his round. Taylor added consecutive birdies on No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 before his closing flourish.

Cink's bogey-free round featured four birdies on the front nine and three on the back nine.

Cink, 47, ended an 11-year title drought in September when he captured the Safeway Open. He is enjoying having son Reagan as his caddie, a partnership that started at the Safeway Open and more recently became permanent.

"Having him there to sort of be a little bit fresher and look at things in a little bit more of a fresh way I think is the main thing he brings to me," Cink said. "That, plus our relationship is so comfortable that I just don't ever find myself getting too high or low around him."

Simpson was just 1 under for the round through 12 holes, but he birdied four of the last six holes, including three straight birdies to end his round.

Simpson fought the coronavirus in late December, but he returned to action last week and tied for 17th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

He said of the conditions Friday at Waialae: "It's one of those days where (with) calm winds, you feel like you need to go shoot 7, 8, 9 under, and I was a couple under for a while there. So really happy with my finish and I thought if I can get it to double digits, I would be at least close to the lead going into Saturday."

Henley logged seven birdies and a lone bogey while Vaughn Taylor had five birdies and a bogey.

Kirk rolled in a 15-foot eagle putt on No. 18, and he also had four birdies and a bogey.

Defending champion Cameron Smith of Australia followed an opening 67 with a 66, leaving him at 7 under, tied for 19th.

Malnati and Niemann shared the first-round lead with Jason Kokrak, who is also tied for 19th after a 1-over 71.

--Field Level Media

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