FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Retief Goosen teed off on the 14th hole yesterday at the Sony Open. The South African is tied for the lead going into the third round.
Sony goesThe $4.5 million Sony Open in Hawaii may have to tee it up at Waikiki's International Marketplace over the weekend.
Just one American is in the top five | Goosen and Baddeley share the lead
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Hawaii's participants don't make the cut
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By Paul Arnett
That's because the crowded leaderboard entering today's third round is more like a tournament in Europe than the first full-field event on the PGA Tour.
South African Retief Goosen and Australian Aaron Baddeley share the second-round lead at 10-under-par 130. South African Ernie Els and Australian Peter Lonard are a shot back at 9-under 131 along with American Chris DiMarco.
Japanese favorite Shigeki Maruyama is alone in sixth with a two-day 8-under total of 132, with American Briny Baird in seventh at 133.
It's not exactly what you would expect from a tournament dominated by Americans in recent years, but perhaps a portent of things to come on tour this season, especially with Tiger Woods sidelined for several more weeks.
Goosen and Els are representing their country admirably through the first two events of the PGA campaign. Els won the Mercedes Championships in record fashion last week and is still the man to watch over the final 36 holes. Goosen finished in a tie for fourth on Maui last week and continues to strike the ball well.
At Waialae Country Club
Yardage: 7,060; Par 70
R.Goosen 64-66 -- 130 A.Baddeley 66-64 -- 130 P.Lonard 66-65 -- 131 C.DiMarco 65-66 -- 131 E.Els 66-65 -- 131 S.Maruyama 66-66 -- 132 B.Baird 68-65 -- 133
Six tied at 134
He followed up his opening-round 64 with a 4-under 66. Baddeley had the best round of the day, coming in just before sundown with a 6-under 64. He barely missed an eagle putt on the final hole, settling for a tap-in birdie and a share of the lead.
"I'm right where I want to be," the 21-year-old Aussie sensation said. "I am very confident with my game and if I just keep doing what I've been doing, which I have done for the last four to six months, things will happen for me. As long as I'm comfortable with where I am that is all that matters.
"Ernie is playing well. I watched what he did last week and it was very impressive. Ernie is swinging great right now and he is definitely still the favorite at this point in time. This is where you dream of being. My first event with my tour card and being tied for the lead after 36 is fantastic. I love being in the final group."
It's not as if Baddeley is a stranger to the last group off the tee. He has won three major events abroad -- two Australian Opens and the 2001 Greg Norman Holden International. He beat 2001 Mercedes champion Sergio Garcia in that event, so playing with Goosen won't be an eye opener.
"He won the U.S. Open, which comes in handy, I suspect," Baddeley said of Goosen. "I enjoy playing with a world-class player like the Goose. You can learn things from a player of his caliber."
Goosen is learning that countryman Els is in a zone of his own. Els said Goosen is playing awesome, but Goosen conceded that Els actually played better than he did the opening 36 holes, "He just didn't make as many putts," Goosen said.
"It is nice playing with Ernie. He will be playing just in front of me tomorrow. The way he is playing now, if he gets the putter going, I think he is probably the guy to beat over the weekend."
Els followed his opening 66 with a stellar 65 that included three birdies over the tough stretch of six holes on the front nine. He birdied the final hole, while Goosen parred it after sending his drive within 2 feet of being out of bounds.
"The only shot he missed was maybe that one on 18 (actually No. 9 because they went off the backside)," Els said. "He hasn't missed too many shots. He is putting great and he is going to be tough this weekend. Saying that, there are a lot of guys bunching up at the back, so it should be quite a finish."
There are 19 players 5-under or better, another 19 within seven shots of the lead. There were 77 golfers who shot even or better, making 140 the cut.
"It's going to be a very exciting weekend," DiMarco said, who fashioned his 66 earlier in the day. "I am looking forward to that. Obviously, my goal is to get back to last week's tournament (winners-only Mercedes) every year, so we have two days here to maybe take care of that this week, which would be great."
There are several past champions within shouting distance of the leaders, including 1996 Hawaiian Open champ Jim Furyk (134), 1992 Hawaiian Open winner John Cook (135), 1986-87 Hawaiian Open champion Corey Pavin (135), defending Sony Open winner Jerry Kelly (136) and 1999 Sony Open champ Jeff Sluman (136).
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