Schauffele takes 1-shot lead in Hawaii

Doug Ferguson
Xander Schauffele holds a one-shot lead at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii

The only thing resembling paradise for Xander Schauffele is his name atop the leaderboard at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Through bursts of rain and gusts topping 50 km/h, Schauffele managed to go bogey-free for a second straight day with a 5-under 68 on Friday to hold a one-shot lead over Patrick Reed and Joaquin Niemann.

The American is trying to become the first repeat champion of the winners-only event in 10 years.

On this day, he was trying to keep it together.

Schauffele finished with a birdie, a two-putt par from just under 100 feet and a 7-foot birdie on the final hole. That gave him the lead at 9-under 137, the highest 36-hole score to lead at Kapalua since 2008.

"A day of adjustment is sort of how I like to look at it, and glad we were able to come out on top," he said.

Reed made three straight birdies around the turn, lost two good scoring chances late, made up for that with a 30-foot birdie on the 17th and wound up with a 66 for the best score of the day.

Niemann didn't make a birdie until the ninth hole and limited the damage enough for a 72.

Rickie Fowler (71) was two shots behind.

Schauffele won last year with a 62 in the final round, a score that now seems out of reach on a Plantation course with entirely new grass on fairways that remain soft because of rain.

The greens have shelves that weren't there a year ago. And the weather was never this rough when he won.

"Besides looking the same and looking over at Molokai, very different," Schauffele said.

"We're on the same property but for the most part there's no memory I can fall back on when it comes to making a putt or hitting a bump-and-run shot on a certain hole since the green layouts are very different."

Justin Thomas was poised to join Schauffele until he missed the green at the 17th to the right and made bogey, and made another bogey on the 18th when his drive went left into the waist-high native grass.

He was three strokes back after a 73.