Russell Henley made two eagles on Friday to take a three-stroke lead at the Sony Open in Hawaii, returning to the site of his breakthrough victory.
Henley capped a 7-under-par 63 at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu with a birdie-birdie-eagle finish. He’s at 15-under 125, while Haotong Li of China is at 12 under after a 65.
Matt Kuchar (65 in the second round) is in third place at 11 under par, while Michael Thompson (67) is in fourth place at 10 under par.
At 9 under par, Stewart Cink (63), Chris Kirk (65), Brandt Snedeker (65), Davis Riley (66), Dylan Wu (66), Patton Kizzire (68), Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama (65), Ireland’s Seamus Power (68), and Canadians Corey Conners and Adam Svensson (both 67) are all tied for sixth.
Kevin Na, the defending champion and first-round leader, shot a 71 on Friday and is tied for 16th at 8 under.
Henley made his PGA Tour debut in 2013, winning the Sony Open at 24-under 256, a tournament record at the time.
Henley began his round on the back nine and was even par until hitting a 43-foot eagle putt on the par-five 18th hole on Friday. After a bogey and two pars, he went on to make four birdies in the next five holes. He then rolled in a 29-foot eagle putt on the par-five ninth hole.
Returning to a site where he owns a victory, Henley said, “I mean, I’ve won three times, so it’s not often I get to claim I’ve won a tournament, so it’s really great. The clubhouse and everything have remained the same. I have a lot of really fantastic memories, so it’s definitely a good start to the year.”
Li made three birdies on either side of his lone bogey.
Kuchar started his bogey-free round on the back nine with eight consecutive pars before making five birdies in the next eight holes.
“It’s been another great day,” Kuchar remarked. “On Thursday, I probably felt more in control than on Friday, but I hit a lot of fairways. When I did miss, I was fortunate in that I had (favorable) shots. But I thought it started with eight straight pars and then went on a good run. I believe the front nine here is more approachable than the back nine, and that’s how it went for me today.”
Cameron Smith, the victor of last week’s Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Hawaii, missed the cut by three strokes. On Friday, he shot a 71 to finish at 2-under 138.