Ice-cool rookie Henley sets record pace at Waialae

Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:53pm EST
 
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(Reuters) - American Russell Henley, surprisingly unflappable for a PGA Tour rookie, lived his dream for a second consecutive day at the Sony Open in Hawaii as he charged into a two-shot lead in record style on Friday.

The 23-year-old fired a flawless seven-under-par 63 in warm, windy conditions at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu to post a tournament low of 14-under 126 after the first two rounds.

Five players shared the previous 36-hole record of 128 at the Sony Open, with John Cook the most recent in 2002.

Henley's playing partner and fellow rookie Scott Langley, the first-round leader, birdied his last three holes for a 66 to share second place with long-hitting Scott Piercy (64).

United States Ryder Cup player Matt Kuchar was at 11 under after shooting a 63, with compatriots Chris Kirk (62) and Charles Howell III (64), plus South African Tim Clark (66), a further stroke adrift.

Most eyes, however, were firmly fixed on Henley who had made only two previous starts on the U.S. circuit but was already looking like an ice-cool tour veteran.

He reached every green in regulation while playing in the company of his college friend Langley and ended the day with seven birdies to take control of the PGA Tour's first full-field event of the season.

"I didn't make every putt that was close but I was hitting great putts, hitting them like I want to hit them, and some were falling," a beaming Henley told reporters. "So I'm happy about it.

"It's pretty surreal. I remember I got my card after the (feeder Web.com) Tour Championship. My family was there and it was just kind of like, 'Wow, I just got my PGA Tour card.' You hope eventually one day you'll make it out here."   Continued...

 
Russell Henley of the U.S. reacts to his drive off the 14th tee during the second round of the Sony Open golf tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry