After 36 holes, some of the PGA Tour’s best golfers have produced a big crowd near the top of the leaderboard. Leading the pack are Justin Thomas and Ryan Moore who closed out their rounds with birdies to get their tournament score to 12-under. Additionally, both golfers posted matching six-under 67’s in the second round.
Behind them are a whole host of golfers who are hot on their tail. Consequently, this tournament is shaping up to be almost the complete opposite from the classic shoot out in last year’s Open Championship. Instead of at least 11 strokes ahead of the rest of the field, the two leaders are hanging on to just a one stroke lead.
Patrick Reed and Jimmy Walker are tied for third at 11-under, just a one stroke deficit. Reed soared up the leaderboard in the second round as he posted a eight-under 65 while Walker remained steady by posting a three-under 70.
Behind them are Jason Dufner and Hideki Matsuyama who are in 5th and 6th place respectively. Dufner’s five-under 68 brings him to a 10-under tournament score, just two strokes off the lead. Meanwhile, Matsuyama also posted a five-under 68 to bring himself to a nine-under tournament score, three strokes off the lead.
With only 36 holes down, there are still just as many left so expect a lot of movement at the top of the leaderboard as the rest of the tournament plays out this weekend.
After only three events before this one, Hideki Matsuyama has proven he’s at the top of his game. The 24-year-old has played in just three events in the 2016-17 PGA Tour season and has not finished outside of the top two. In fact two of those tournaments resulted in wins. Matsuyama captured the WGC-HSBC Champions in the last week of October and Tiger Wood’s Hero World Challenge in the first week of December.
In addition to his wins, he had another top finish this season to hang his hat on. At the CIMB Classic, his first appearance of the season, he couldn’t catch eventual winner Justin Thomas but he was able to finish alone in second place. Matsuyama finished at 20-under for the tournament, three strokes behind Thomas.
This week, he is again hanging around the top of the leaderboard. Matsuyama posted a four-under 69 in the first round to keep pace with the star packed field. In the second round, he upped his game by posting a five-under 68. He is now at nine-under for the tournament. With two rounds to go, he has plenty of time to make up the three stroke deficit he faces. After all he is no stranger to the top spot.
Jason Day Impressing In First Appearance Since Back Injury
Back in September, Jason Day was faced with a back injury that forced him to withdraw from the BMW Championship. Then just two weeks later he withdrew from the Tour Championship because of a related back issue. That would turn out to be the last tournament he played in before this week’s SBS Tournament of Champions. Day spent the time between then rehabbing his back to ensure a return to full health.
Day entered the week still ranked as the No. 1 golfer but he was hanging on by a slim margin. So far after two rounds, Day is on the right track to proving his back is healed and keeping his No. 1 ranking.
Day started his week off with a respectable three-under 70, certainly a good start considering his last competitive golf appearance. In the second round, he stayed on track by one upping his first round score with a four-under 69. He now sits at seven-under for tournament in a tie for 11th just five strokes off the leader’s pace.