Rory McIlroy In Contention As Tournament Of Champions Heats Up

Gary Woodland hits from the fourth fairway during the second round of the Tournament of Champions golf event Friday Jan. 4 2019 at Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua Hawaii

Rory McIlroy In Contention As Tournament Of Champions Heats Up

Earning a start in the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua resort, the Australian promptly capitalised on the trip, soaring into contention in the opening US PGA Tour tournament of the year. You know what clubs you are going to hit off all the tees and how far right or left you are going to have to aim on each hole.

The three-time PGA TOUR victor has spent his holiday season practicing - even taking his clubs on a Dominican Republic getaway with his wife - to ensure this time around he was ready to contend.

Gary Woodland simply played the wind better than the rest of the field in the second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the first PGA Tour event of the year.

"I was just trying to drink water, eat some food and stay upright", he told the Golf Channel.

He is coming off a good year in America, where he won the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and was runner-up (with Cameron Smith) in the World Cup of Golf at Metropolitan.

"The thing is if I can get through that front nine in under par there is good chances on the back nine and that is what I did out there today", McIlroy added.

However, Day is confident of reeling in American Woodland, citing the fact he shares the course record at Kapalua - an 11-under-par 61 he shot during the 2015 event.

"On one hole, Dad took a huge divot and a centipede had come up from the ground", Tway said.

Meanwhile, defending champion Dustin Johnson was hit with a two-stroke penalty for hitting the wrong ball, leaving him with a double bogey.

Three players - Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose - qualified but are not playing.

"Yeah, it was nice, nice way to start the tournament", McIlroy said.

The world No. 5 has not changed his mind about the new rules, although he said there would be one exception.

"With all the technical work I've done in the off-season it's a real contrast to come out here and completely forget about the swing and just hit the shot".

KEVIN TWAY, American golfer, on his fine round of seven-under 66 despite feeling ill. "I've obviously been in the position multiple times".

"But this time I've been playing a lot".

"If I've got an eight-footer to win, I can't take myself seriously if I have the pin in", the 2017 PGA Championship victor told reporters.

Thomas, however, said he would not be putting with the flag stick in.

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