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Dave Tindall

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The Roundup: Kuchar's twin 63s

Saturday, January 12, 2019


Recap of the day


Morning wave: Fresh from shooting his lowest opening lap of Waialae, a seven-under 63, Matt Kuchar threw in another one to storm to 14-under 126 at the midpoint. When the morning wave were complete, that was good enough for a four-shot lead over Stewart Cink and Chez Reavie. The latter’s 65 was remarkable as it contained three hole-out eagles from over 100 yards while Cink birdied half the holes in a 62.


Afternoon wave: Late/early has definitely been the prime draw this week (splits show a 2.41-shot advantage) and only two of Friday’s p.m. starters were able to crack the top ten by day’s end. Keegan Bradley (T9) was one but the significant move was made by first-round leader Andrew Putnam, who backed up his opening 62 with a bogey-free 65 to cut Kuchar’s four-shot lead to just one. Despite rallying with a 66, Jordan Spieth missed the cut by a shot.


Low round of the day: Stewart Cink (62)


R2 leaderboard: -14 Matt Kuchar, -13 Andrew Putnam, -10 Chez Reavie, Stewart Cink, -9 Ted Potter, Jr., Marc Leishman, -8 Hudson Swafford, Shugo Imahira.


Selected others: -6 Patrick Reed, -5 Justin Thomas, Patton Kizzire (DC), -4 Hideki Matsuyama, Bryson DeChambeau, -3 Gary Woodland, Cameron Champ.


Missed cut: The line fell at 2-under 138. Early exits - 139 Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, 140 Paul Casey, 142 Bubba Watson, 147 Adam Scott. Another cut of low 70 and ties will occur after round three.


Revised outright betting: 11/8 Kuchar, 7/2 Putnam, 9/1 Leishman, 11/1 Reavie, 22/1 Cink, 25/1 Thomas.

 


Saturday weather forecast

 

Temperatures are in the early 80s for most of the day while the winds start at 5mph, rise to 10mph at 1pm and half again around 5pm. There could be a brief shower in the afternoon.

 

 

Leaders after 36 holes

 

Matt Kuchar (63, 126) – There’s more than one way to shoot a 63. Kuchar did it by hitting 12 fairways and gaining 4.75 strokes tee-to-green in R1 but on Friday a hot putter was the key (4.852 SGP) after he’d found just 8 fairways and 13 greens.


Andrew Putnam (65, 127) – Gaining 6.871 strokes putting (R1 62) was never going to be sustainable but Putnam added another couple to that (2.025 SGP) with another strong display on the greens. Ranks 1st in putting and 31st in tee-to-green. Just one bogey so far this week.


Chez Reavie (65, 130) – What sort of witchcraft is this? Reavie starts his day (10th) by holing out from 101 yards for eagle, drains his approach from 149 yards for another eagle at 16 and, ridiculously, becomes the first player since hole-by-hole records started in 1983 to register three 2s on par 4s in the same round by doing it again from 135 yards at the 6th. Lost strokes with the putter though.


Stewart Cink (62, 130) – Friday’s low lap and Cink’s joint-career low in 1,935 rounds moved him up 26 spots to T3. Cink ranks 6th in strokes gained tee-to-green so his new Ping equipment is working well. Then again, it’s not that new. He said later: “I did change manufacturers, although I've been playing Ping equipment since May pretty much through the whole bag. Only thing I had to get into was the putter.”

 

 

Fate of the favorites

 

Justin Thomas (68, 135) – JT has eight birdies and two eagles thru’ 36 holes but has been kept in check by seven bogeys, scribbling three more today. Hit just 11 greens and short game couldn’t save him.

 

Bryson DeChambeau (67, 136) – Six birdies against a lone bogey after 11 holes, DeChambeau played the rest of the round in 2-over. Putter has gone cold (76th SGP) and now ten shots off the pace.

 

Gary Woodland (66, 137) – Over par in round one but up 43 spots to T46 after a R2 66. Like DeChambeau, the putts aren’t dropping (65th SGP).

 

Jordan Spieth (66, 139) – Spieth is now 1-for-3 this season after missing the cut although he almost sneaked in after three birdies in his last four holes. Seven bogeys this week ultimately undid him but at least he had his putter working in round two, gaining 2.500 strokes after -2.878 in his opening 73.



Quotes

 

Matt Kuchar (63, 126): “Been on some good form, so felt really good yesterday; today probably wasn't quite as clean. I think I hardly missed a fairway yesterday and today missed a handful. I took advantage early and started out with three straight birdies, 10, 11, 12, and kind of continued the good play from yesterday.”

 

Andrew Putnam (65, 127): “Honestly, I didn't hardly practice this off-season. I got my tonsils taken out so I was resting up for a while. But I've always been a great putter. That's been one of my strengths. Obviously seeing the lines great this week.”

 

Chez Reavie (68, 130): “I was trying to think back to any round I even had more than one hole-out and I couldn't think of any. I need to go buy a lottery ticket today I think.”


Stewart Cink (62, 130): “It was a great day out there. Really all facets of the game were firing. Drove it well and hit a lot of good irons. Rolled in a lot of putts from the range that really makes a difference in your score, which is like, say, ten to 20 feet.”


Jordan Spieth (66, 139): “For not playing well at all and being on the bad end of the draw, to miss the cut by one is reassuring. I’ve missed cuts before and gone on and won my next event. So I’m in a good space given what happened.”

 

 

Road to victory at Waialae

 

2018 Patton Kizzire – R1: 20th, R2: 7th, R3: 2nd

2017 Justin Thomas – R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 1st

2016 Fabian Gomez – R1: 68th, R2: 16th, R3: 5th

2015 Jimmy Walker – R1: 12th, R2: 8th, R3: 1st

2014 Jimmy Walker – R1: 5th, R2: 5th, R3: 4th

 

Notes: Recent history gives hope to the chasing pack as just two of the last seven winners were in the top four at halfway. Three of the last four champions were four or more shots back although you have to rewind to 1997 to find the last time anyone made up a deficit of six from the midpoint.

 

 

Fate of the 36-hole leaders at Waialae – where did they finish?

 

2018 Brian Harman – 4th

2017 Justin Thomas – 1st

2016 Brandt Snedeker – 2nd

2015 Matt Kuchar – 3rd, Justin Thomas – 6th, Webb Simpson – 13th

2014 Zach Johnson - 1st

 

Notes: Kuchar had a share of the lead here four years ago but dropped the pace (68-71) to finish third. Starting from 2007, five players with a piece of the lead have converted, with Thomas (five shots) the only one to have more than a two-shot advantage at this stage.

 

 

Focus on – Matt Kuchar

 

Kuchar hasn’t had a good reputation as a closer but, notably, he’s managed to turn two of his last three worldwide 36-hole leads into victories having previously managed it just once (2012 PLAYERS) in 12 attempts on the PGA Tour/Web.

 

The first of his recent conversions came at the European Tour’s Fiji International in October 2015 and he repeated the trick at the Mayakoba Classic in November after following a pair of opening 64s with 65-69 to win by a shot. He led both those events by two at halfway.

 

 

Focus on – Kapalua correlation

 

The stats show that 14 of the last 20 Sony Open winners had played the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua. The trend is even stronger in recent times with the last five Sony Open winners all playing both legs of the Hawaii Swing.

 

So how is that trend working out this year?

 

Matt Kuchar – T19 Sentry TOC

Andrew Putnam – T14 Sentry TOC

Chez Reavie - DNP

Stewart Cink - DNP

Ted Potter, Jr. – T27 Sentry TOC

Marc Leishman – T4 Sentry TOC

 

Looking at the leaderboard, four of the top six players, including the front two, pegged it up last week. That’s pretty healthy given that just 23 of the 143-man field here played the Sentry TOC. Those who rode that stat are getting rewarded so far.



Dave Tindall is former golf editor at Sky Sports.com in the UK and has been writing betting previews for the European Tour since 1997. He can be reached via e-mail on tindall_david@hotmail.com and on Twitter @davetindallgolf.
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