The Upshot: Round 2, Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Round 2 recapJanuary 04, 2014
By D.J. Piehowski, PGATOUR.COM
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- Zach Johnson fired a bogey-free 66 to open up a three-shot lead at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, while defending champion Dustin Johnson (66) made nine birdies to surge into a tie for second.
JOHNSON & JOHNSON: After finishing his nine-birdie 66, Dustin Johnson was asked about his ability to overpower a golf course. After finishing his own 66, Zach Johnson... wasn't.
While their games couldn't be more different, Zach and Dustin have both found their way to the top of another PGA TOUR leaderboard.
Dustin Johnson, the tall, athletic defending champ that leads the field in driving distance, was undoubtedly one of the favorites coming into this week. But apart from the TOUR's stops at the John Deere Classic and the Crowne Plaza Invitational, you rarely hear that title given to Zach, who leads by three with 36 to play. Why?
Thirteen of our staff members make Expert Picks each week and only one had Johnson this week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, even in a 30-man field (well done, Amanda Balionis). The question is: Why does this underestimation keep happening? Johnson has won 10 times on the PGA TOUR and only 14 players in history have earned more money. He said after his round that he's more comfortable on the course than he's ever been in his career.
He's even got the major that Dustin Johnson is still chasing.
"I think it's probably because of the type of golf he plays," said Ryan Moore. "It's not glamorous. He's not hitting these amazing tee shots. He just picks a golf course apart."
That's what Johnson did again on Saturday, hitting 16 of 18 greens and posting another low score at a course that "shouldn't" really fit his game.
"When you're comfortable and playing well, does it really matter what course you're playing?" Johnson asked. "Probably not."
Zach sums it up in the best way possible in this video. If you've been burned by leaving him off fantasy rosters in the past, make sure you take the time to watch.
"When I go in the media room and explain the day, they've got to be yawning," he said. "It's just boring. But I love boring golf."
How different are their games? Dustin Johnson birdied all four par 5s today at Kapalua. Leader Zach Johnson birdied zero. #PGATOUR— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 5, 2014
ANYWAY THE WIND BLOWS: After the out-of-the-ordinary Kona winds swept across Kapalua's Plantation Course on Friday, we were back to a trade wind on Saturday, giving Dustin Johnson the chance to become the first player to hit the par-5 18th green in two, even if he did have 303 yards to the hole for his second shot.
Leader Zach Johnson also benefitted.
"This is entirely a wind-based golf course," he said. "And I'm much more comfortable with the trade wind."
ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK: Despite his two victories, this week was the first time Chris Kirk has ever held at least a share of the first-round lead in a PGA TOUR event. The stat was not as positive a harbinger as it may have seemed. In the second round, he was one of just six players over par, turning in a 75 that dropped him to T-13.
STAT OF THE DAY: Zach Johnson has birdied half of the par 4s he's played this week (11 out of 22). At 9 under, Johnson has been eight shots better than the rest of the field on the par 4s.
Additionally, his 11 par-4 birdies is the most through 36 holes at the Plantation Course since 1999.
SUNDAY'S GAMEPLAN: Tee times start at 10:07 a.m. local time (3:07 p.m. ET) with the leaders teeing off at 12:41 p.m. local (5:41 p.m. ET) NBC has coverage from 3-4 p.m ET and Golf Channel takes over from 4-10 p.m. SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio has coverage from 3-10 p.m. ET. Tee times | Broadcast schedule
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Pay attention to the ever-important par-5s at Kapalua and how the wind affects them. In today's wind, all are reachable for Dustin Johnson and he takes advantage, making birdie at 7 of 8 so far this week.
Dufner nealy takes a showerYou're not the only one who has to avoid sprinklers on the course. Jason Dufner nearly took a shower at No. 5.
PHOTO GALLERY: View images from the second round