Ambitious Piercy in contention at Waialae

Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:00am EST
 
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(Reuters) - Scott Piercy took an encouraging step forward in his aim of becoming a multiple PGA Tour winner this year by charging into contention in the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii on Thursday.

The long-hitting American fired a flawless six-under-par 64 on the tight, tree-lined layout at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu to finish level with South African Tim Clark, two strokes behind pacesetting rookie Scott Langley.

Russell Henley, like fellow American Langley launching his maiden season on the U.S. circuit, started out with an eight-birdie 63 to trail by just one after a breezy, mainly overcast, day.

Piercy, who tied for 13th at the PGA Tour's windswept season-opening Tournament of Champions at Kapalua on Tuesday, was delighted with his improved putting at Waialae.

"I struck the ball well last week but I didn't feel like I rolled the ball well putting," the 34-year-old American told reporters after recording three birdies either side of the turn. "I made a couple of little changes and I rolled it better today.

"The wind wasn't even blowing today compared to last week," said Piercy, referring to the continual gusts of over 40mph which prevented play over the first three scheduled days at Kapalua.

"I just played solid today, hit it in a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, made two fairly key putts and took care of the par fives."

SETTING SIGHTS

Piercy, who won his second PGA Tour title at last year's Canadian Open, has set his sights on at least doubling his career tally of wins on the U.S. circuit by the end of 2013.   Continued...

 
Scott Piercy of the U.S. hits the ball on the 15th fairway during the first round of the Sony Open golf tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry