Fore Things: Spieth, Kaufman get waved


HONOLULU – Justin Thomas extended his lead at the Sony Open, following his historic 59 on Thursday with a 64 that set a new 36-hole PGA Tour scoring record (123) for a five-stroke advantage heading into the weekend.

Although Thomas continued to dominate the conversation at Waialae Country Club, there were plenty of other notables on Day 2 in Hawaii.

Smylie and Jordan’s excellent adventure almost didn’t end well, with Kaufman and Spieth sparking a social media furor with their fishing and paddling exploits after their rounds on Thursday.

Kaufman and Spieth were spotted adjacent to Waialae paddling out into the ocean in a two-person kayak and Golf Channel caught the duo trying to catch a wave that sent both players, and fishing poles, sprawling.

“You know, we're lucky to be alive to be honest with you,” Spieth laughed. “I didn't realize Smylie was the worst person I could have brought out there. Now I recognize that and won't do it again.”

Spieth said no one was injured in the adventure, but didn’t plan to paddle back out after his round on Friday.

Gary Woodland has embraced a less-is-more game plan for this week’s Sony Open.

Woodland, who ranked 10th on Tour last season in driving distance, said the tight confines of Waialae have forced him to dial his game back off the tee. He hit just four drivers on Friday on his way to his second consecutive 64 that left him alone in second place, five strokes behind Thomas.

“Butch [Harmon] keeps telling me if I don’t hit fairways he’s going to make me go all Henrik [Stenson] and hit 3-wood everywhere,” joked Woodland, who is ninth in the field in driving distance at the Sony Open. “So I better start hitting fairways.”

Winning the gold medal at last year’s Olympics helped turn around Justin Rose’s year, but it didn’t get him into the SBS Tournament of Champions.

Although the regulations were adjusted to provide exemptions for the gold medal winner into this year’s major championships and The Players, there was no adjustment made to give them a spot in the field last week at the winners-only event in Maui.

“I didn’t inquire, but in my mind I was surprised it didn’t count,” said Rose, who was tied for third at the Sony Open after a second-round 64. “Why wouldn’t it? Maybe it’s a one-off thing. If a PGA Tour member won that would have been a good rule. I don’t have the right to say I should have been in Kapalua because I won six years in row and I’ve only been once.”

For the last decade and a half Charles Howell III has started his season at Waialae Country Club, going back to his first full year on the Tour in 2002.

In 15 starts at the Sony Open, Howell has finished second twice, third twice and posted eight top-10 finishes, and through two rounds this week he’s tied for sixth after a 66 on Friday.

“Maybe it’s the start of the year and I’m excited to get my year going,” Howell said. As for how long he plans to keep playing the Sony Open, he left no room for ambiguity. “I’ll play until they just quit having me.”