American Stuard leads in Hawaii, Scott lurks

Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:43pm EST
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(Reuters) - Masters champion Adam Scott made an ominous move up the leaderboard late in the day after little-known American Brian Stuard had seized control of the $5.6 million Sony Open in Hawaii during Friday's second round.

Stuard spectacularly eagled his final hole, the par-five ninth, to shoot a five-under-par 65 on another gorgeous, sun-splashed day with barely a hint of wind at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

The 31-year-old from Michigan ended his round in champion style, hitting a superb hybrid three-iron from 214 yards to just two feet for a tap-in putt as he posted a 10-under total of 130.

That left Stuard one stroke in front of Australian Marc Leishman (64) and Japan's Hideto Tanihara (65), with American Harris English (66) a further shot back at eight under.

"I feel comfortable on the greens," Stuard, who has twice finished second on the PGA Tour in pursuit of a maiden victory, told reporters. "I feel like I read them pretty well and I'm able to make putts."

Australian world number two Scott, the highest-ranked player in a surprisingly strong field for the PGA Tour's first full-field event of the year, lurks just three strokes off the pace after carding a five-birdie 66.

Scott, whose regular caddie Steve Williams is back in his native New Zealand this week for an auto race competition, almost holed out for eagle at the last, his ball hitting the flagstick before bouncing down just six inches from the cup.

That shot was one of many that stunned Scott's substitute caddie, surfer Benji Weatherley, who had never previously carried a bag in a professional tournament until this week.

"It's the most fun you could ever have," Weatherley told Golf Channel about working for Scott at Waialae this week. "I've no nerves because, for one, he's so good it's embarrassing.   Continued...

Adam Scott of Australia follows his ball after teeing off on the 11th hole during the first round at the Sony Open golf tournament at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii, January 9, 2014. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry