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January 11 2013

8:39 PM

Clark feels right at home in Hawaii

Tim Clark has posted three top 25s in as many events at the Sony Open in Hawaii. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

By Ann Miller, Special to PGATOUR.COM

HONOLULU -- Simply being in Hawaii makes Tim Clark feel better.

The 37-year-old South African came back to the PGA TOUR last year after getting just four starts in 2011 because of tendonitis in his right arm and an elbow injury. The first of those starts was a runner-up finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii, where he ended up two shots back of Mark Wilson.

It marked his third T25 at Waialae Country Club in as many starts. He missed the beginning of the season here in 2012, but a 4-under-par 66 Friday has him feeling healthy and right back at home.

After two rounds, Clark is 10 under and four shots back of leader Russell Henley midway through the second day.

“Obviously a great way to start the year,” Clark said. “Not a whole lot of expectations coming down, but I always enjoy the start of the year. I love coming out here to Hawaii. It’s just such a great place and obviously a course that I really like and have played well at in the past. For me, it’s just a great way to get the year started.”

Clark warmed up for Waialae with a round at Kukui‘ula on Kauai Sunday.

 He is bogey-free so far at Sony, with six birdies Thursday and two more Friday, complemented by a short eagle putt on the ninth.

“I hit probably one of my worst tee shots of the day in the left rough and got a good lie,” Clark said. “So I got a good break there and hit a 5-wood up to about 3, 4 feet. It was a good way to get the round going.”

The 2010 PLAYERS Championship winner is still searching for his second title, although he has won more than $19 million on the PGA TOUR and captured four international events. He closed last year with four top 15s, including the 10th runner-up finish of his career, at the Wyndham Championship.

This weekend, he will set his sights on Sony, again. He might be more than 11,000 miles from South Africa, but it feels like home.

“It's strange,” Clark said. “I think when I come here it reminds me a lot of Durban, South Africa, near where I grew up. The weather is the same, the grasses are the same, and it's not an overly long golf course, and it plays firm.

“If you're driving it good, for a guy like me, I'm going to get some run out there and have shorter irons in. It really is just a course that suits me.”

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