Atwal fights back, lies 20th at midway stage of Sony Open

Last Updated: Jan 16, 2011, 14:19 PM IST

Honolulu: Arjun Atwal staged a fine comeback right at the end with three birdies on his last three holes as he brought home a two-under 68 to occupy the tied
20th spot with a total of five-under 135 at the Sony Open, the
first full field event on the PGA Tour this year.

Atwal, starting on the 10th, opened with a birdie but the
bogey on 13th set him back. Again he had a birdie on 18th,
only to throw away that advantage with bogeys on fourth and
sixth.

Then came his hat-trick of birdies from the seventh. His
driving fell in place and missing a few fairways, he found his
way back at the close and coupled with better hitting and
putting he was back on the trail.

Last week in the season-opener Hyundai Champions event, a
winners-only tournament, he was tied 12th.

The leader was Japan`s Shigeki Maruyama who had another
five-under 65 ti find himself atop the leaderboard.

Maruyama took advantage of the early start had among his
efforts a bunker shot that banged into pin and dropped for
birdie on the par-3 seventh to break out of a tie with Stuart
Appleby, the 18-hole leader, who played Waialae course in the
afternoon. The two are at 10-under 130.

As the opening round was washed out by rain, the Sony
Open will be decided by a 36-hole final round.

The 41-year-old Maruyama laughed and said, "My feet. It`s
a problem. I`m getting older, and 36 holes is going to be a
struggle."

The leaders were two shots clear of Steve Marino (67) and
Roland Thatcher (65), whose runner-up finish at Disney in the
final PGA Tour event last year enabled him to keep his card
and book a trip to Hawaii.

Matt Kuchar, coming off a PGA Tour money title and the
Vardon Trophy, had a 67 and was at seven-under 133. The group
at 134 includes Boo Weekley (66) and Chris DiMarco (67), who
are looking to turn their fortunes around.

Anthony Kim had the best score of the morning group, a 64
that got him back into the picture.

The cut came at three-under 137.

PTI