Maybe Anthony Kim made it too easy.
The three-time Tour winner opened with a 1-over 71 on Friday, despite hitting 10 of 14 fairways and repeatedly placing the ball in perfect spots off the tee.
Yesterday, Kim made the rough his second home, but it was clearly where he was most comfortable. In the fairway on only six of 14 drives, Kim fired a bogey-free 64 in the second round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.
In just his second appearance at the Sony, Kim needed to shoot in the 60s for the first time at Waialae Country Club to make his first cut.
He matched a 32 on the back nine — he started on hole No. 10 — with the same score on the front, birdieing the final two holes to move from a tie for 85th place into the top 20.
His 64 was matched by only Aaron Baddeley and Daniel Summerhays for the low round of the day.
"Yeah, it was a lot better today," Kim said. "I still missed probably four or five putts inside of 7 or 8 feet, and I’ve got to clean that up. But I’m getting the hang of it, and I’m starting to roll the ball a little bit better."
One of the young phenoms on Tour, the 25-year old now residing in Dallas is battling back from a thumb injury that caused him to miss three months of the 2010 season.
He made the cut only twice in the six PGA Tour events after he had surgery, never finishing higher than a tie for 48th place at the BMW Championship to finish the season.
He started 2011 with a 19th place finish at Kapalua last week, but played his best round of golf yesterday as he continues to try to get back to the top of his game.
"My game is really coming around," he said. "Unfortunately I’m hitting one or two squirrelly shots a round and that’s costing me, but I’m getting better, and that’s all I can afford."
Kim started shaky, missing a 4-footer for par on 10 and then mishitting a putt on 11 that left him 29 feet from the hole.
He managed to sink that putt to save par, then took it to Waialae with birdies on 12, 15 and 18.
Kim missed the fairway on his next four drives, but saved par each time, including from the fairway bunker on No. 1.
He sunk a 21-footer from the fringe on No. 5 and closed with birdies on the final two holes after two of his better drives of the day.
Although he hit just six fairways, he hit 13 of 18 greens compared to only nine in Round 1, which helped improve his score by seven shots.
"(Friday) I missed a couple of those (momentum putts) and missed a shot by a yard or 2 but picked the wrong target," he said.
Kim putted only 25 times in the round, chipping from the rough for birdie twice on holes No. 15 and 5.
With a 36-hole finish scheduled for today, golfers will need to grind twice as hard for twice as long, and the advantage could be with younger players such as Kim.
Kim feels it could come down to his putting.
"I’m not making the 10-foot momentum putts that I need to make right now to save my round," he said. "I’m working on that and I think it’s going to be a good year for me."