The Sony Open took a while to get started. So did Stuart Appleby.
Appleby was humming along Friday on rain-soaked Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, no bogeys on his card but not many birdies, either. Then he holed a 163-yard shot from the fairway and a 35-foot putt on the next green to finish with a 6-under 64.
That gave him a one-shot lead over nine players from Matt Kuchar and Justin Rose to a pair of rookies in Nate Smith and Ben Martin. In soft conditions and only a light breeze, 65 players in the 144-man field broke par.
Appleby shot 30 on the back nine, including a chip-in from the front of the 12th green. Then came a strong finish, with a 5-iron that he holed out for eagle on the 16th and the long birdie putt on the 17th.
“Less than two hours, really went from a pretty plain round to a good round,” Appleby said.
No one could catch him in the afternoon.
After an entire round was washed out by heavy rain on Thursday, the second round is scheduled today, followed by a 36-hole marathon on Sunday
The LPGA Tour denied the request of 15-year-old Alexis Thompson for limited membership so she could double her sponsor exemptions from six to 12. However, LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan said Thompson can pursue additional playing opportunities by trying to qualify on Mondays. Previously, only LPGA Tour members were allowed to Monday qualify. ... South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel shot 10-under 61 to share the halfway lead at the Joburg Open in Johannesburg with Jamie Elson (64) and Garth Mulroy (64).