Seamus Power carded a second-round 66 to move to two-under overall, eventually making the cut on the number at the Sony Open in Hawaii and finds himself just seven back on a bunched leaderboard.
An opening two-over 72 saw the Waterford man enter round two in a tie for 108th place, and seemingly destined for an early flight back from Honolulu, especially when he failed to make up any ground on the opening seven holes.
After seven consecutive pars, a laser-like approach from the fairway bunker at eight set up his first birdie of the tournament, and, like buses, two more followed at the par-5 ninth and par-4 10th holes, none of the three birdie putts being longer than four-and-a-half feet.
Another six pars followed, and he entered the final two holes knowing that he’d need at least one birdie to have any chance of earning a paycheck for the week, and when he hit his tee shot to seven feet at the par-3 17th, he’d move to -2 and inside the cutline for the first time all day. An unlucky break on the par-5 closing hole left him with a 14-footer for a fifth birdie of the day, and one that would’ve eased the pressure considerably, but he couldn’t get it to drop and he faced a nervous wait as the afternoon wave headed out.
Tied for 47th when he tapped in his par putt on the last, that number would steadily rise as the later groups’ rounds came to conclusion, and when all was said and done, he found himself in a 17-way tie for 65th, with the top 65 and ties earning a third-round tee time.
Power joins Corey Conners and Martin Trainer in round three as the high volume of players tied 65th or better forces a two-tee start and deems three-ball-groupings necessary.
China’s Carl Yuan joined American Austin Eckroat and Korean Ben An at the top of the board midway on -9. Yuan, ranked 126 in the FedEx rankings at year’s end, was destined for a return to Q-School before Jon Rahm, who would’ve been defending champion at last week’s The Sentry, opted to join LIV and bumped everybody up one spot in the rankings, thereby securing Yuan’s playing rights for 2024.
“Before I learned the news, I was really trying to get myself ready and come out and play good in Hawaii and on the West Coast and try to earn myself back on tour,” Yuan said. “Luckily I got full status, but I’m still trying to do the same thing and come out here and play the best I can.”
Veteran Stewart Cink is one of 10 players tied for fourth one shot back at -8, whilst Ludvig Aberg shot a second-round five-under to climb to -5 overall, three behind leading Europeans Stephen Jaeger and Mathieu Pavon, both of whom sit alongside Cink at -8.
“I think I’ve just managed this course really well. It’s been pretty breezy. Yesterday especially. Today not quite as breezy,” said Cink after signing for his 65 on day two.
“But just the course – you just need to manage your way around. Not going to hit every fairway out here. The rough is significant this year, so just managing your shots and where you miss, and when you do hit fairways and you’re able to take advantage of some good comfortable yardages, that’s when you have to take advantage.
“I’ve done a pretty good job of both of those things.”