Sony Open: Russell Knox in contention as Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed crash out
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 11/01/20 4:54pm
Russell Knox found the blustery conditions in Honolulu to his liking as a 65 lifted him to within a shot of the lead at the halfway stage of the Sony Open in Hawaii.
With low scoring again scarce as strong winds continued to batter the Waialae Country Club, Knox carded six birdies and just one bogey on day two, while star draws Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed both failed to make the cut.
Brendan Steele bounced back from a double-bogey at the sixth to birdie his last three holes and claim a share of the lead on six under with Cameron Davis, who matched Steele's 66 in the second round.
Davis' fellow Australian Cameron Smith was first into the clubhouse on five under after he returned a 65, and Knox was not far behind him as the Scot chases his first PGA Tour victory since the 2016 Travelers Championship.
Knox cruised to the turn in 31 with four birdies but took a step back with an errant tee-shot to the par-three 11th, finding a greenside bunker and unable to prevent his splash-out scuttling 40 feet beyond the flag.
He safely two-putted for bogey and got back on the right track with a glorious 215-yard approach to three feet which set up a bounce-back birdie at the 13th, and a sublime pitch from the rough at the long last ensured he would cap his day with a tap-in for his sixth birdie of the day.
Knox closed on five under alongside playing-partner Keegan Bradley, who fired a five-birdie 66, while the third member of the group, Andrew Putnam, is also in contention on four under after adding a 67 to his opening 69.
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"We had a great group with Keegan and Andrew, we all played well and dragged each along, which was nice," said Knox afterwards. "We kept seeing good shots, which made it easier.
"I know I played a really good front nine to shoot four under, and then I kind of hung in there on the back a little bit. Then it was nice to finish with a birdie, so I'm extremely happy with my round.
"I drove the ball very well, which is very tricky obviously with the crosswind. Historically I've not really been very good in left-to-right wind, but on the front nine I took care of those drives very well. That's kind of a key for me."
Pre-tournament favourite Thomas, who beat Reed and Xander Schauffele in a play-off to win last week's Sentry Tournament of Champions, was a surprise early casualty as he missed the cut by two shots.
Thomas, Sony Open champion three years ago, had two double-bogeys in six holes mid-round as he slumped to six over, with three late birdies proving scant consolation as he closed on three over alongside Reed, who stumbled to the turn in 40 and left himself too much ground to make up.