Golf: Danny Lee in top five at opening PGA Tour event

Danny Lee. Photo / AP
Danny Lee. Photo / AP

Danny Lee hopes 2016 will be even better than last year and he's begun the PGA Tour season in promising fashion.

The Kiwi golfer shot a second-round five-under par to move to 11-under at the season-opening Tournament of Champions today, sitting in fifth in the US$5.9 million tournament restricted to players who won PGA Tour events during 2015.

After his bogey-free six-under opening round, Lee's second round provided a bit more drama, opening with consecutive bogies on the Kapalua course.

However, three birdies and an eagle brought him back to three-under at the turn, and he finished strongly to card a 68 and sit in fifth, just one shot off second but five behind world No 1 Jordan Spieth, who leads at a remarkable 16-under par.

Spieth chipped in for eagle on the ninth and ended his day with a birdie that hung on the edge before dropping in on the last turn. It gave him a blemish-free round of nine-under 64 for a four-shot lead over Argentina's Fabian Gomez and American duo Kevin Kisner and Patrick Reed.

Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson sit just behind Lee, while PGA Championship winner Jason Day is well back in the pack in his return to competitive golf after a lengthy break.

Lee's impressive start to 2016 follows his fantastic 2015 campaign which saw him record eight top-10 finishes and a maiden tour win at The Greenbrier Classic.

He is aiming to usurp his impressive 2015 accomplishments, while at the same time playing fewer events than his arduous 36-tournament schedule last year.

"I definitely don't think I can play that many tournaments this year ... I can but I don't think I will. I'm going to be smarter about it," Lee told Radio Sport.

The world No 47 finished ninth in the FedEx Cup standings last season, and is looking to continue his climb up the world golfing ladder - something which will be aided by being eligible to play in all majors and World Golf Championship events this year.

"My goal this year is to finish a little bit better than I did last year. I think it's a tough one but I think it's a great goal to set.

"I have a better chance to finish higher and play all the majors. I know I can play in all of them so I can prepare to play in all of the majors this year and plus I get to play in all of the World Golf Championship events which is exciting," said Lee.

Lee's season on the big stage will also include representing New Zealand at the Rio Olympics, with 2016 set to be a year when his name regularly appears alongside the world's elite.

- NZ Herald

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