The Associated Press KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — The surf, the sun and endless views of island paradise can make the SBS Tournament of Champions feel like a working vacation. Ryan Moore and Justin Thomas were among those putting the emphasis on work at Kapalua.
Thomas prepared more diligently than he did a year ago, particularly on straightening out his driver. He has made 13 birdies in two rounds, making seven of them Friday for a 6-under 67. That was enough to share the lead with Moore, who birdied four of his last five holes for a 67.
They were at 12-under 134, one shot ahead of Patrick Reed (65) and Jimmy Walker (70).
Moore, coming off a Ryder Cup debut that elevated his stature, said it could be easy to fall into the trap of island life. He has worked that out of his system.
“If I’m at a golf tournament, I’m here to golf and I’m here to play a golf tournament,” he said. “Doesn’t mean I can’t go hang out with my son and play on the beach for a few minutes afterward, but I’m not going to do anything to wear myself out and exhaust myself so the next day I’m tired on the golf course.
“Everything I do, and all the decisions I make, are to play a tournament. But it is easy to let that other side of it happen.”
He poured in a 25-foot birdie on the 12th hole, and work felt easier. Moore twice hit wedges to tap-in range for birdie as part of his strong finish.
Matsuyama 3 shots behind
They weren’t the only players on their games.
As many as six players were tied for the lead at one point on another picturesque afternoon along the rugged coast of Maui. One of them was Hideki Ma- tsuyama, going for his fourth straight victory worldwide, until he tried to clear the gorge on the 17th from thick rough and paid for it.
He made double bogey, and a birdie on the last hole for a 68 — his 12th straight round in the 60s on the PGA Tour — left him three shots behind.
Reed is still struggling with an illness and learned the limits of what he can do when not playing so well. He hit every green in regulation for the first time in his PGA Tour career and missed only one fairway.
Jordan Spieth also was in the mix, but only briefly. The defending champion ran off nine birdies, five of them after taking a double bogey on the par-3 eighth hole. But he hooked a tee shot into the hazard on the 17th, hit his next into another hazard and missed a 4-foot putt to take triple bogey.
Spieth shot a 69 and was seven shots back and sounded as though his tournament was all but over.