Saturday, March 17, 2018

Moore, Thomas tied for lead at Tournament of Champions

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Ryan Moore and Justin Thomas finished strong Friday and shared the lead going into the weekend at the Tournament of Championship.

Moore birdied four of his last five holes, ending with a lob wedge that settled a foot from the cup on the par-5 18th for 6-under 67. He played in the same group with Thomas, who closed with two birdies for 67.

They were at 12-under 134 and were one shot ahead of Patrick Reed (65) and first-round leader Jimmy Walker (70).

Six players were tied for the lead at one point. One of them was Hideki Matsuyama, going for his fourth straight victory, until he had a double bogey on the 17th. He finished with 68 and was three behind.

World No. 1 Jason Day (69) was in a group at 7 under that included Dustin Johnson (70).

Jordan Spieth made nine birdies with the kind of round that should have put him in contention.

Except for two holes, he might have been.

Instead, Spieth left Kapalua thinking more about a high finish than a title defense.

He made a double bogey on the par-3 eighth when his ball caught a wicked lie in the bunker and his next shot buried in deep rough. What really irritated him was a bad drive on the 17th, compounded by not getting the right yardage and laying up into a hazard, leading to a triple bogey.

"I'll struggle for the next couple hours getting over 17 kind of throwing me out of the tournament," Spieth said after his 69. "Just feel like it's going to be too big of an uphill battle. But I can get myself probably 12- to 14-under par the next two days and finish in the top five. So that becomes the next goal."

Spieth was at 5-under 141, seven shots out of the lead.