Saturday 29 April 2017

Kang has no problems in Houston

 

Justin Rose hits his tee shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the Shell Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Justin Rose hits his tee shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the Shell Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

William S Callahan

South Korea's Sung Kang threatened to leave a world-class field trailing in his wake after a brilliant second round in the Shell Houston Open yesterday.

Kang carded seven birdies and an eagle at the Golf Club of Houston to add a flawless 63 to his opening 65 and set a new 36-hole tournament record on 16-under par.

The 29-year-old from Jeju began the day a shot behind overnight leader Rickie Fowler, but quickly erased that deficit with a birdie on the 11th, his second hole of the day.

Further birdies on the 15th and 17th took Kang to the turn in 33 and he picked up further shots on the first, second, fourth and seventh before holing from 30 feet for an eagle on the par-five eighth.

Kang is ranked 202nd in the world and had missed the cut in five of his nine PGA Tour events in 2017, but demonstrated he was capable of low scores with a second-round 60 in last year's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

American Hudson Swafford was his nearest challenger after a sixth birdie of the day took him to 10-under par, with Russell Henley a shot further back with four holes to play.

Meanwhile, Justin Rose (left), complete with his treasured Augusta yardage book, is heading into the Masters feeling he is "clicking at the right time" to go one better than two years ago.

Certainly, the world No 13 appears in much finer fettle than all the big names who missed the cut at this Shell Houston Open.

Rose (pictured left) struggled himself during his one-under 71, which featured three dropped shots around the turn, but, at six-under, his travails were minor in comparison to this extraordinary mass exodus of big names.

Jordan Spieth went out on two-over, as did Patrick Reed, while Adam Scott was only one better.

Henrik Stenson, the reigning Open champion, and Lee Westwood will surely both be concerned after crashing out on five-over and, although, a dreadful forecast for the weekend here will have soothed their disappointment somewhat, as Rose pointed out, "they'd all rather have played well".

Shell Houston Open, Live, Sky Sports 4, 6.0pm

Irish Independent

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