Scottie Scheffler rolling his rock, Tyrrell Hatton’s ‘mad’ putting day among 5 things to know from the second round of The Sentry

Just two days after being named PGA Tour Player of the Year for the second straight year, Scottie Scheffler is staking an early claim to a three-peat of the Jack Nicklaus Award.

The 27-year-old World No. 1 shot 9-under 64 at Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course on Friday in Kapalua, Hawaii, to take a one-stroke lead over Tyrrell Hatton, Sungjae Im and Brendon Todd at the midway point of the Sentry. He improved to a 36-hole total of 16-under 130, which marked the first time that Scheffler has posted 16-under par or better through two rounds.

Scheffler made his first – and so far only – bogey of the tournament at the second hole but bounced back with a birdie at the third and then holed a 25-foot eagle putt at the fifth. He tacked on two more birdies on the front nine and then reeled off four birdies in a row starting at No. 12. He circled his eighth birdie of the day at the last.

Scheffler, who won the Hero World Challenge in December, continues to show improvements in his putting since he started working with Phil Kenyon before the Ryder Cup in late September. Scheffler gained more than two strokes to the 59-man field on the greens on Friday. When he does that, he’s tough to beat. But leading after 36 holes hasn’t always been to Scheffler’s benefit. This marks the 10th time he’s held or been the co-leader after 36 holes on Tour and he’s converted just 2 of 9 to date, winning the 2022 Masters and 2023 WM Phoenix Open.

The Sentry: Photos

“Scores around this place are pretty low, but it’s one of those places if you go out there and play well you’re going to get rewarded. If you start not hitting it in the right spots, you can get in trouble,” he said. “Just got to keep the pedal down out here.”

Here are four more things to know from the second round of The Sentry.

Hatton's mad putting round

2024 The Sentry
Tyrrell Hatton celebrates after making an eagle on the 18th hole during the second round of The Sentry golf tournament at Kapalua Golf – The Plantation Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

On a day where birdies and eagles were as plentiful as the coconuts on the palm trees in Maui, England’s Tyrrell Hatton had a career day. He equaled his career low round on Tour with a second-round 11-under 62 at the Sentry.

“That’s something to be proud of,” he said. “Maybe a surprise to do it in the second round back to start the year, after how long I’ve had off.”

That score matched a 62 he shot in round two of the 2023 Genesis Scottish Open), but his 11-under total Friday represents his lowest score in relation to par on Tour. He finished with a flurry, making three birdies and an eagle at the last on his last four holes. He became just the third player in the last decade to shoot 62 or lower at The Plantation Course despite making a bogey (No. 14).

“If I’m being honest, body didn’t feel great, and tee to green wasn’t, didn’t feel amazing,” he said.

So how did he manage to go low? “I had a mad day on the greens,” said Hatton, who led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting for the round (+3.207). “Every putt I seemed to look at went in, which is a nice feeling. Hopefully that continues over the weekend.”

It will be tough to match the closing eagle, holing out from 97 feet with his putter from off the green.

“That’s just a bonus,” he said. “Just hoping to roll it up somewhere close and, yeah, thankfully, the flag got in the way and the ball fell in the hole.”

It took Hatton more than 25 hours to get to Maui from his home in England and he complained of being as stiff as a board. He also took an extended layoff and hadn’t practiced much other than hitting balls for about a half hour each day last week at his father’s indoor studio.

“With how bad my body felt, I’m surprised that, going out this morning, that score was just not even entering my mind,” Hatton said. “I guess it shows how much of a stupid game it is.”

Bulldog's Kirk and Todd feed off each other

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Brendon Todd (right) is congratulated by caddie Paul Tesori (left) after making his putt on the 18th hole during the second round of The Sentry golf tournament at Kapalua Golf – The Plantation Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Brendon Todd and Chris Kirk both played at Georgia and often share a house on the road, not to mention practicing together on a regular basis. So, it was a friendly pairing for the first two rounds at the Sentry.

“I think we push each other,” Todd said. “We both want to beat one another, I think, and we’re encouraged when we see the other one doing well. I think we hold ourselves to a pretty high standard when we’re playing with each other.”

On Friday, Todd edged Kirk by a stroke, posting a 9-under 64 to tie Hatton and Sungjae Im for second, and just a stroke ahead of Kirk. Beginning at the fourth, Todd carded four birdies and an eagle to play a six-hole stretch in 6 under.

Todd didn’t win last season but tied a career best for top-10 finishes and finished in the top 50 in the FedEx Cup standings. Todd said he had chased distance during the previous two years but realized that wasn’t working for him.

“What happens to me if I go swing like a swing speed implement is it throws off my release pattern, and my release pattern is my golf game,” he said.

Kirk is swinging it well too. Winner of the Honda Classic last season, he carded three birdies in a row on the front and five in a row on the back.

“I played great today. I hit the ball really beautifully,” Kirk said. “To be honest, didn’t really make a ton of putts to shoot 8-under, that sounds kind of crazy, but, yeah, it was a really solid day.”

Historically-low scoring

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Viktor Hovland lines up his putt on the third hole during the second round of The Sentry golf tournament at Kapalua Golf – The Plantation Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kapalua’s Plantation Course can play like a beast when the wind blows. But when it doesn’t, it can be a pussycat. These guys are good, especially in calm conditions. But on Friday, the field of 59 recorded the lowest scoring average in 101 rounds since Kapalua became an annual stop in 1999.

The scoring average of 67.4 in the second round on the par 73 layout broke the previous record of 67.7 in the third round last year.

The forecast had called for breezier conditions on Friday but the weatherman was wrong yet again. On a windless day, every player in the field broke par. Unless the wind picks up, the birdie barrage should continue, said Todd.

“I was telling my son, he said, ‘If I shoot 6-under four times that’s 24-under.’ I said, ‘That’s not going to be enough to win.’ He said, ‘Really?’ I said, ‘Well, 34 under won two years ago.’ I think we’re looking like something like that. Something in the low 30s,” said Todd. “There’s just so many great players and the golf course is in perfect shape and without the wind you’re able to hit wedges close and reach the par-5s.”

Hovland lurking

2024 The Sentry
Scottie Scheffler (left) and Viktor Hovland (right) shake hands on the 18th hole during the second round of The Sentry golf tournament at Kapalua Golf – The Plantation Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Viktor Hovland, the reigning FedEx Cup champion, hasn’t showed much rust despite making his first Tour start since late August. (He did play the Ryder Cup, DP World Tour Championship and Hero World Challenge).

Hovland has opened 65-67, extending his streak to 13 straight rounds in the 60s on the Tour dating to last season. He’s 62 under for that stretch.

Hovland finished in style, sinking a 53-foot eagle putt to improve to 14-under 132 and two strokes off the pace. That’s despite having an off week for him with his approach game (41st in SG: Approach the Green) and a middling putting performance on Friday. If Hovland can put it together, it could be a real entertaining weekend seeing if Hovland can chase down the world No. 1.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek