Round 2 of the Sony Open is in the books, and the leaderboard is intriguing for the second straight week. Brian Harman leads at 13 under (more on him in a minute), but he’s being chased by a group at 10 under that includes Zach Johnson, Chris Kirk, Tom Hoge and John Peterson. 

Beyond them, even bigger names lurk. Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both made the cut, but Spieth at least will need a monster weekend to have a chance. For now, it’s Harman that looks like he’s in control of the event. Let’s start with him in five takeaways from the second day in Honolulu.

1. Harman playing best golf of his career: I’m not even sure it’s that close. Harman also led last week after 36 holes at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. It’s a position that’s become familiar to him.

It’s not that Harman has had a bad career. The former Georgia Bulldog has 25 top 10s in just under 200 starts. But he’s never had more than seven in a season, and if he nabs one this week (or better), that will be five (!) already for the 2017-18 campaign. Last week, he was terrific from tee to green. This week, he’s getting it done with the putter. We’ve seen several short-game artists win this event in recent years, and Harman is No. 1 in the field this week in strokes gained putting. That part of the game is certainly his calling card, and he’s going to it often this week. 

His rounds this week — 31-33-31-32 — have been preposterously good and give him the distinction of joining Justin Thomas as the only two players to lead after 36 holes at both Hawaii tournaments in consecutive years.

2. Spieth’s 91-foot putt: Spieth, at 3 under, finished two strokes clear of the cut line, which is pretty impressive considering: (a) He made a quadruple bogey on Thursday and (b) He made a 91-foot birdie putt on Friday. It’s the longest putt on the PGA Tour this season by 15 feet and would have been the third-longest on the PGA Tour last season. Spieth somehow still managed to finish with a negative strokes gained with the flat stick, which means you shouldn’t be surprised when he turns that around on the weekend and nabs that backdoor top 10.

3. The course rocks: Waialae is one of the shorter courses on the PGA Tour, but it’s also one of the most architecturally sound and viscerally engaging. Players rave about the layout, and Andy over at The Fried Egg did a great job recently of detailing the history of Waialae. One of the reasons I enjoy this week is because it doesn’t feel like a course you can overpower. Obviously, Thomas showed us last year that there are ways to do it, but the number of legit golf shots required to win here seems higher than at most other courses on Tour.

4. Fascinating leaderboard: As a result of this course, I think, we have a really interesting group of players at the top of the leaderboard. It’s a terrific mixture of old veterans like Zach Johnson and Jerry Kelly combined with middle-aged (for golf) studs like Kevin Kisner and Brian Harman combined with young upstarts like Talor Gooch, Xander Schauffele and Ollie Schniederjans. Every full event week is a reminder of just how absurd the PGA Tour is right now.

5. Thomas lurking: You might want to keep a few side-eye emojis handy for the weekend. Thomas is 25-1 to win the event with just 13 players ahead of him. If Harman plays well, Thomas can’t catch him from seven down. But if Harman stumbles, Thomas is suddenly just four back of all the guys in second. He said on Thursday he loves playing the course, and he finished birdie-birdie-eagle on Friday. If the putts start to fall, it could be go time for the No. 4 player in the world on Saturday and Sunday.


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