HONOLULU – Mark Wilson began a marathon day at the Sony Open with a 5-under 65 to take a one-shot lead after 54 holes before heading out for the final round.
Rain earlier in the week washed out the opening round and forced a 36-hole Sunday. With a reduced cut to 56 players, separated by only seven shots going into the last day, it figured to be wide open.
Wilson got his nose in front with a bogey-free round, making birdies on the two par 5s at Waialae and chipping in from birdie from behind the third green. He was at 13-under 197, one shot ahead of Steve Marino, who made eagle on his final hole had a 66.
“Now I’ve just got to catch my breath,” Wilson said. “I’ve got two minutes to make it to the tee. I’ve got my sandwich for the afternoon, eight new golf balls and I’m all set.”
The groups did not change from the morning because of the race to finish on Sunday. At one point, Brendan de Jonge was on the fourth hole of his final round and two shots out of the lead with a half-dozen players still in the third round.
Matt Kuchar, who could move inside the top 10 in the world for the first time in his career if he were to win, shot a 66 and was in the group two shots behind along with Jimmy Walker and Stuart Appleby.
Shigeki Maruyama, who shared the 36-hole lead with Appleby, had an even-par 70 to fall three shots behind.
Walker didn’t spend much time looking at the leaderboard, knowing how quickly it could change and how far he still had to go. He holed a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 11, his second hole of the third round, and also played without a bogey.
“You can watch the leaderboard and see if you’ve got to kind of try to make a few more birdies here and there,” Walker said. “But I’m just going to try to keep doing what I’m doing. It’s working pretty good.”
Some players failed to keep pace.
Ernie Els, who won in a 36-hole Sunday finish in South Africa last month, had to settle for a 68 and was six shots behind. He then had a pair of bogeys early in the fourth round. Steve Stricker also shot a 68, not as low as he needed to be after starting six shots behind, and was trying to catch up in the afternoon.
Roland Thatcher was among those tied for the lead at one point in the morning until a stretch of three bogeys in five holes stalled his momentum. He shot a 68 and was three behind going into the final 18 holes.