Texas

Kirk hosts Sony as Spit transitions from host to skipped cut

HONOLULU – Chris Kirk, who was in the lead, was perhaps the only normal player at the Sony Open.

Jordan Spieth started Friday with a share of the lead. He walked off the 18th lawn at Waialai in a mild shock after he missed.

“I felt like I had a really bad deck of cards today,” said Spieth, the first player since Matt Avery at Bay Hill in 2020 to go from a fraction of an 18-hole lead to an early exit. “It was a strange, strange day.”

He had a 5-over 75 after opening with 64.

In the morning, Rory Sabbatini hit the 18th hole and was one shot away from the leader, heading for the top nine. He hit his tee shot from outside the field. Double beetle. He launched his drive into the water at No. 2. Double phantom. He fired his second shot at #3 in the same water and got the same result. He shot 41 of his last nine for 74 and missed by 1.

JJ Spawn had a happier time until the end when one bad shot sent his tee shot into the channel on the ninth par-5, leading to terror on the easiest hole at Waialai. He still fired 64 shots and was one shot behind.

But imagine walking into the first court of the PGA Tour, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and seeing your high school principal watching you. Rita Kier, a retired San Dimas High School student, found herself on vacation with her husband.

“I saw her on the first T-shirt and I thought, ‘Oh my God, is that Mrs Keir?’ Of course it was,” Spawn said. “Small world.”

Friday’s strange world, at least not far from wild, wacky Waikiki.

Kirk only missed one shot in his 5-under-65 round, leaving him 11-under 129 ahead of Spawn and Taylor Montgomery, a PGA Tour rookie who is playing his eighth tournament of the season and only once. out of the top 15.

He’s polite to the extreme, so hearing Montgomery talk about his teenage years in Las Vegas and his time skating in Shadow Creek and arguing with Michael Jordan (which didn’t end well for Montgomery) was hard to imagine. Again, this was common on a Friday in Waialai.

Kirk was one of the sweet stories at the Sony Open two years ago. He retired from golf to seek help for alcoholism and depression. He received a medical extension and the Sony Open was his last chance to keep his full card. He did this by closing with a score of 65 for second place.

Kirk was among those who shared the lead when he started the second round. He hit the first three holes and, apart from the scarecrow at No. 6, didn’t put much pressure on him. But he can appreciate the difficulty of trying to keep fit day in and day out.

“It’s very difficult to be a professional in this game mentally,” he said. “I don’t know if I did a good job today or not, but luckily I did it in the last nine. I always remind myself that pressure is a privilege when you get a little nervous.”

Sleep wasn’t sure how he felt. He was even during the day, right in the mix, when he went from rough to funny lies in the bunker. Next up was the ninth par-5, which is the lightest bird on the course until the ball floats straight down to the canal.

He fell near the red danger line, placing his left foot on the cart track. To get extra relief, a tree would interfere in the game, but then he worried that his left foot would slip and his ball didn’t disappear the way he wanted. It was a mess and he had to do a 10 foot kick for the ghost.

It feels like it’s been like this all day.

“I’ve never led a tournament or cashed before,” Spit said. “Just got the ball in the wrong place, in the wrong place.”

The cut will not officially be done until Saturday morning because darkness again prevented everyone from finishing. But that would be 2 under 138. Davis Thompson was 2 under and faced an eagle strike from 60 feet away. Until he hits four, he’ll be around for the weekend. Considering how Friday went, it was probably a good idea to wait.

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