Woodland charges into lead

McIlroy, DeChambeau, Tway tied for second, three shots back, after second round at Plantation Course

Gary Woodland acknowledges the crowd’s applause after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th hole Friday during the second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Kapalua Plantation Course. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

KAPALUA — Thursday was a lonely round of golf for Gary Woodland. By the end of Friday’s second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions, he stood alone at the top of an impressive leaderboard.

A day after traversing the Kapalua Plantation Course alone when playing partner Kevin Na withdrew, Woodland played in the final group and carded a second straight 6-under 67 — including a 31 on the back nine — to get to 12-under 134, which was good for a three-shot lead going into the weekend.

“I played really good, actually, tee to green,” Woodland said. “It’s been nice. I have driven the golf ball very well, controlled. The wind today I thought was a little tougher than yesterday, but I’ve controlled the ball great into the greens. I think I hit 16 greens today, which was nice. Big deal just staying patient on the greens.”

Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau each shot 68 and were tied with first-round leader Kevin Tway (71) for second at 9 under.

Woodland, who is ranked No. 31 in the world, and DeChambeau will be in today’s final pairing, teeing off at 10:45 a.m. Woodland said his aggressive mindset will not change.

Rory McIlroy chips to the Kapalua Plantation Course’s 14th green Friday. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“You would like to build on that, continue to do what I’ve been doing, driving the golf ball great, controlling it into the greens, and then you got to be aggressive,” he said. “You’ve got to try to find a way to get it below the holes and be aggressive on these greens. It’s supposed to blow again tomorrow, so the game plan should be the same tomorrow as it was today.”

Woodland and Tway pushed themselves down the stretch.

Woodland had five straight birdies from Nos. 11-15 to vault out of the pack before adding an easy birdie on the 18th.

In his two previous appearances here, Woodland finished 24th in 2012 and tied for 13th in 2014.

“This place can definitely take it away. You have the views, Hawaii, everything’s phenomenal,” Woodland said. “I’m in a pretty good spot off the golf course.”

Bryson DeChambeau putts on No. 8. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Tway recorded three straight birdies on holes 13-15, but lost his streak of 34 straight bogey-free holes with a blemish on the 17th.

McIlroy, the eighth-ranked player in the world, is clearly becoming more and more comfortable in his first appearance here.

“Very pleased. I thought the conditions today were a little bit trickier,” McIlroy said. “The wind was up a little bit more. Yeah, I stayed patient. The front nine’s the tough nine on this golf course, and I had a couple opportunities, but I just thought if I could get through that first nine under par, I would have a few chances on the back nine. And thankfully I was able to take advantage of some of those.”

All factors appear to be coming into focus for McIlroy.

“I’m driving it great,” he said. “I got the new driver in the bag and now it feels really good. Obviously, I’ve got the new putter in the bag, and that feels good, too. Everything’s feeling pretty good right now.”

Kevin Tway follows the flight of his chip to the 18th green. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

DeChambeau had impressive par saves on Nos. 10, 11 and 14 and leads this field in strokes gained putting.

“On 14 the rain kind of came, we didn’t have an umbrella, not happy about that,” DeChambeau said. “But got through that and made a couple key putts when it mattered most. That’s the thing that I’ve been working really hard on, my initial velocities of the putts, different angles in these greens, because they’re so different than anything we play all year. That, just really worked hard on that and it’s kind of paying off this week.”

Marc Leishman is fifth at 8 under after he shot 5-under 32 on the back nine, the second-best score of the day on the last half of the course, behind Woodland. He triple-bogeyed the sixth hole on his way to 2-over 38 on the front.

Xander Schauffele (67), Cameron Champ (68) and Justin Thomas (72) are tied for sixth at 7-under 139.

Schauffele carded six birdies and no bogeys. His second shot on the 663-yard 18th from 314 yards away landed 11 feet from the pin — he two-putted for birdie.

Cameron Champ chips to the 18th green. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“I didn’t feel like doing the math on the scorecard, we had 255, 257 adjusted front, so it was just a 5-wood and I made good contact and started it somewhere in the bleachers and let the wind do its thing,” Schauffele said.

Champ, the tour leader in driving distance, was pleased after opening with a 71.

“Definitely, especially with the wind conditions,” Champ said. “I feel like it was blowing a little bit harder today. I just tightened it up off the tee. That was kind of where I really struggled yesterday. I hit a lot more quality shots today and made some good putts.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com

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Jon Rahm chips to the eighth green. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

PGA SENTRY TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

Friday’s Second Round

At Kapalua Plantation Course

Gary Woodland 67-67–134 -12

Bryson DeChambeau 69-68–137 -9

Rory McIlroy 69-68–137 -9

Kevin Tway 66-71–137 -9

Marc Leishman 68-70–138 -8

Xander Schauffele 72-67–139 -7

Cameron Champ 71-68–139 -7

Justin Thomas 67-72–139 -7

Ian Poulter 71-69–140 -6

Jason Day 69-71–140 -6

Patton Kizzire 69-71–140 -6

Jon Rahm 70-71–141 -5

Dustin Johnson 67-74–141 -5

Webb Simpson 70-72–142 -4

Andrew Putnam 69-73–142 -4

Michael Kim 71-72–143 -3

Brandt Snedeker 75-69–144 -2

Francesco Molinari 73-71–144 -2

Charles Howell III 74-70–144 -2

Paul Casey 73-71–144 -2

Troy Merritt 73-71–144 -2

Andrew Landry 69-75–144 -2

Aaron Wise 74-71–145 -1

Brice Garnett 73-72–145 -1

Matt Kuchar 72-73–145 -1

Patrick Reed 70-75–145 -1

Keegan Bradley 77-69–146 E

Brooks Koepka 76-70–146 E

Billy Horschel 72-75–147 +1

Scott Piercy 76-72–148 +2

Ted Potter, Jr. 75-73–148 +2

Bubba Watson 70-79–149 +3

Satoshi Kodaira 77-76–153 +7

# # #

Today’s Third-Round Tee Times

8:10 a.m.–Satoshi Kodaira.

8:15 a.m.–Ted Potter Jr., Bubba Watson.

8:25 a.m.–Billy Horschel, Scott Piercy.

8:35 a.m.–Keegan Bradley, Brooks Koepka.

8:45 a.m.–Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed.

8:55 a.m.–Aaron Wise, Brice Garnett.

9:05 a.m.–Troy Merritt, Andrew Landry.

9:15 a.m.–Charles Howell III, Paul Casey.

9:25 a.m.–Brandt Snedeker, Francesco Molinari.

9:35 a.m.–Andrew Putnam, Michael Kim.

9:45 a.m.–Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson.

9:55 a.m.–Patton Kizzire, Jon Rahm.

10:05 a.m.–Ian Poulter, Jason Day.

10:15 a.m.–Cameron Champ, Justin Thomas.

10:25 a.m.–Marc Leishman, Xander Schauffele.

10:35 a.m.–Rory McIlroy, Kevin Tway.

10:45 a.m.–Gary Woodland, Bryson DeChambeau.

Fans watch defending champion Dustin Johnson and former champion Justin Thomas play the first hole. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Sentry Tournament of Champions Leaderboard