PERNICE, GREEN LEAD
Pernice, Green share lead at wet'n'windy Sony
By DOUG FERGUSON
AP Golf Writer
By DOUG FERGUSON
An eagle on the final hole gave American veteran Tom Pernice Jr. a share of the lead with Australian Nathan Green at the midway point of the Sony Open.
The 49-year-old Pernice finished with a 7-under 63 for a two-round total of 8-under 132, tying him with Green (66).
Pernice kept his head down most of the day to withstand the wind and rain, and lifted it just in time to see his ball slide in for eagle.
It was a fitting end of a second round that delivered surprises, starting with the weather. The forecast 50 mph (80 kph) gusts in the forecast, which forced local school closings, never made it to the Waialae course, leaving it wet and windy, but no worse than the opening round.
Japan's Shigeki Maruyama, the first-round leader, had a 68 to be one shot behind the leading pair, along with American Brian Gay (67).
Only nine shots seperated first from last, and the dozen players were within four shots of the lead including former Masters champion Zach Johnson, last week's Mercedes-Benz Championship winner Geoff Ogilvy, Boo Weekley and David Toms.
On the final hole, Pernice hit a driver and a 3-wood into the wind, giving him 92 yards left to the hole. Pernice went with a punch pitching wedge just right of the hole, and it spun to the left and into the cup.
"The finish was spectacular," Pernice said. "You're not thinking about holing it from the fairway. It was tough out there today. Luckily, I scraped it around when I needed to and didn't make any bogeys, and just kind of hung in there.
"It's not necessarily something where you feel like you're going out and hitting every shot perfect," he said. "It's not going to happen, even in these conditions, because your good shots don't always turn out good. The mentality was to hang in there and keep plugging along. Obviously, the eagle at the last was quite exciting."
Green didn't have too much excitement except for the fifth hole, when it started raining strongly and he hooked his tee shot toward the hazard. It was one of the few times a player is happy to see a tree in the way, for it allowed him to escape with bogey.
That was the only glitch on an otherwise solid start to his season. And like so many other players, Green considered it a minor victory that he got to play at all considering the forecast.
"All the news that maybe we wouldn't play had a few of us pretty scared, and that it was meant to blow all day," Green said. "But you get patches out there where it was not really blowing at all. They have the tees forward on a lot of holes. So as long as you get your tee shot in the fairway, you still have a few fair opportunities to make birdie."
Lorens Chan, the 14-year-old amateur qualifier who was trying to become the youngest player in PGA Tour history to make the cut, lost hope early when he played his first nine holes in 42. He birdied two of the last three holes for a 75 and missed by six shots.
The par-5 ninth was the scene of other high drama.
Andres Romero, still struggling to find his form from his offseason rust, was headed home to Argentina until he holed an 18-foot birdie on the seventh, then made a 15-foot eagle putt on the ninth to make the cut on the number.
American Davis Love III wasn't so fortunate. A runner-up last week at Kapalua that moved him to No. 54 in the world as he tries to qualify for the Masters, had a 12-foot eagle putt to make the cut, but he missed.
Johnson finished birdie-birdie-eagle to turn a decent day into a great one with a 65, tying him for fifth with Webb Simpson (68).
Ernie Els, a two-time Sony Open champion who has never finished lower than fifth at Waialae, played bogey-free over the final 16 holes to scrape out a 69 and finish at 1-over 141 to make the cut on the number, as did former U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger.