Rising South Korean star Kim Joo-hyung was all smiles again on Friday after firing a six-under-par 64 to share the second-round lead in the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship.
Kim, who had battled back after opening Thursday with a quadruple- bogey eight to shoot a 67, had a nine-under-par total of 131 to share the lead with Americans Brandon Wu and Ryan Moore in the weather-disrupted tournament at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina.
South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout followed his first-round 66 with a second-round 70, which included five birdies. However, a double-bogey at the 13th and a triple-bogey at the 18th proved costly.
“If you would have told me after the first hole yesterday where I’d be after two days, I definitely would have taken it, so pretty happy,” said Kim, who admitted he felt a mild flashback at the 1st hole – his 10th of the day – where he again found himself in the bunker.
“I was like, well, here we go, just don’t make a quad,” he said. “I was like, let’s just get this on the fairway.
“And I did. I hit a great shot to two feet,” said Kim, adding he told himself: “You know what, this is strokes gained right here – four shots better than yesterday. So, most improved on hole No 1.”
The 20-year-old’s star has been rising fast. A two-time winner on the Asian Tour, he finished tied for third at the Scottish Open in July, an event co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and PGA Tour.
Given special temporary membership on the US tour last month for the remainder of the season, he secured his card for next year with a seventh-place finish in Detroit last week.
“Last month before the Scottish I was like I guess just Korn Ferry Finals for me,” he said. “One month later I secured my PGA Tour card without even going to Korn Ferry Finals.”
On Friday, Kim again had an early wobble with a bogey at the 12th, but had seven birdies the rest of the way, starting with a 14-footer at 13.
He drained a 19-foot birdie at the 2nd then birdied three in a row at 6, 7 and 8 – the highlight of the trio a 30-footer at the 7th.
A disappointing birdie miss from within five feet at his final hole was just a blip.
“It would have been great,” Kim said. “But I still hit a great putt – just didn’t go in.”
Wu (25) is also seeking a first PGA Tour title. He had four birdies and a bogey in his three under 67.
Moore, a five-time winner, had five birdies and a bogey in his 66.
First-round leader John Huh was in a group one shot back after carding a one-over-par 71 – 10 shots worse than his 61 on Thursday.
“I think that’s golf,” said Huh, who was tied with fellow American Russell Henley on 65 and South Korean Im Sung-jae 132.
Im was unfazed by a late weather delay, carding the last of his four birdies in a one under 69 after the break of about an hour and a half.
© Agence France-Presse