South Korean Bae Sang-moon upstaged some of the game’s biggest names by charging into a tie for the lead with Swede Fredrik Jacobson in the second round of the Northern Trust Open on Friday.
Taking advantage of ideal scoring conditions on another glorious morning of sunshine at Riviera Country Club, the 26-year-old Korean birdied his first four holes on the way to a six-under-par 65 and a nine-under total of 133.
Bae, a rookie on the PGA Tour last year, was joined at the top late in the day by Jacobson, who fired a matching 65 after piling up four birdies in five holes around the turn.
The highlight of the Swede’s round was a 55-foot birdie putt from just off the green at the par-four ninth.
“That putt was pretty spectacular,” Jacobson, whose only PGA Tour victory came at the 2011 Travelers Championship, told reporters.
“There were a lot of slopes and bumps along the way to get it there, but I managed to trickle it over the edge, so that was a bonus,” he said.
Americans John Merrick (66) and John Rollins (65) were tied for third at eight under, but several former major winners and heavyweight players were in hot pursuit.
British world No. 3 Luke Donald was just two shots off the pace after a 66, with 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel (67), US Open champion Webb Simpson (66) and former world No. 1 Lee Westwood (68) a further stroke back.
Twice winner Phil Mickelson (67), Spaniard Sergio Garcia (73), Australian Adam Scott (67) and British Open champion Ernie Els of South Africa (68) were among eight players at four-under 138.
Bae was a runner-up at last year’s Transitions Championship and he knows how difficult it is to win on the PGA Tour.
“There are many good players on the PGA Tour so it’s very competitive,” he said. “It’s a good experience for me and I will just play my game. My goal is to win, but that’s not easy.”
Overnight leader Matt Kuchar, who opened with a 64 to take a one-stroke lead, slipped back with a 73 to end the day four strokes off the pace, level with defending champion Bill Haas (67).
The cut fell at two-over 144 with triple major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland, Masters champion Bubba Watson and 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell among those failing to advance.
AFP, EAST LONDON, South Africa
Brazilian Adilson da Silva rediscovered his putting touch to take a three-stroke lead on Friday after two rounds of the Africa Open.
He completed a 10-under-par first round of 62 early on Friday for a four-shot lead over South African Jaco van Zyl, the late finish caused by a three-hour delay when 30kph winds moved balls on some greens.
The Brazilian returned to the East London Golf Club course soon after and excellent putting helped him to a four-under 68, with Van Zyl firing a 67 to retain second place and John Parry of England a 66 for third spot.
Da Silva has a two-round total of 130 with Van Zyl on 133, Parry on 134, and South Africans Oliver Bekker (67) and Darren Fichardt (67) on 136.