Another 73 leaves McDowell eleven behind in Korea

Another 73 leaves McDowell eleven behind in Korea
 Justin Thomas chips in to avoid a scuff mark on the green at Nine Bridges

Justin Thomas chips in to avoid a scuff mark on the green at Nine Bridges

Graeme McDowell moved up 10 places on the leaderboard but is now 11 strokes behind leader Luke List in the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges in South Korea.

The 38-year-old, who recently explained how sitting out the 2016 Ryder Cup has "lit a fire" under him in terms of his ambition to win his fifth cap in Paris next year, shares 47th on two-over par on Jeju Island in the inaugural, limited field, PGA Tour event.

Overnight leader Justin Thomas - whose chip in from three feet to avoid a scuff mark on the line of his putt attracted plenty of online interest — followed his first round 63 with a 74 and is now two strokes behind List, who leads on nine-under after a bogey-free 67.

The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year and FedExCup holder turned in three-over par 39.

He didn't make his birdie of the day until the 10th and mixed two birdies with two bogeys in his last eight holes.

As a result, List leads by one-stroke from Scott Brown (70) and former US Open winner Lucas Glover (67) on nine-under with Thomas tied for fourth with 24-year-old Australian Cameron Smith. Scores

McDowell birdied the sixth and seventh to turn in two-under par but bogeyed the 10th, 11th and 12th before finishing with six straight pars.

Second-Round Notes – Friday, October 20, 2017

Weather: Mostly cloudy with a high of 67 degrees. Wind NE at 15-20 mph

Leaderboard

Luke List68-67—135 (-9)

Lucas Glover 69-67—136 (-8)

Scott Brown  66-70—136 (-8)

Justin Thomas 63-74—137 (-7)

Cameron Smith 69-68—137 (-7)

Marc Leishman  66-72—138 (-6)

Patrick Reed 66-72—138 (-6)

Chez Reavie 66-72—148 (-6)     

Luke List

Luke List birdied the 9th hole (his final hole of the day) for a bogey-free 67 to take a solo lead after the second round at 9-under-par at the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES. List was one of just five players in the 78-man field to birdie the par-5 9th hole and one of two players to go bogey-free in round 2.

This is the second time that List has led or shared the lead through 36 holes of a PGA TOUR event. The 32-year-old finished T14 at the 2016 RBC Canadian Open – the only previous 36-hole lead on the PGA TOUR.

After starting the 2017-18 season with six consecutive rounds in the 70s, he now has four consecutive rounds of 68 or better dating back to the third round of the CIMB Classic.

List turned professional in 2007 and reached the PGA TOUR in 2013 but failed to keep his PGA TOUR card. He returned to the PGA TOUR for the 2015-16 season and is now playing the third consecutive season, looking to win on the PGA TOUR for the first time in his career.

The 2016-17 season was his most successful so far as he finished No. 50 in the FedExCup rankings and recorded his best finish on TOUR, a T2 at the Sanderson Farm Championship.

Lucas Glover

Three-time PGA TOUR winner Lucas Glover shot a second-round 5-under-par, 67, to move to 8-under for the tournament and is one stroke off the lead at the inaugural CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in Jeju Island, Korea. Glover is looking for his first victory on the PGA TOUR since winning the 2011 Wells Fargo Championship.

Glover played well in the fall events last season with a T5 at the Sanderson Farms Championship and a 3rd at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open.

Scott Brown

Scott Brown birdied the final hole to move into a tie for second, one off of Luke List’s lead. Brown is looking for his second victory on the PGA TOUR to go along with his 2013 win at the Puerto Rico Open.

This matches Brown’s best standing through 36 holes on the PGA TOUR. He was second after the second round during his victory at the Puerto Rico Open in 2013.

Brown completed his sixth season on the PGA TOUR last season, ending with 19 cuts made in 29 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at the Genesis Open and Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He finished the season at a career-best 55th place in the FedExCup standings. His T20 finish at the BMW Championship equalled his career-best eight top-25 finish of the season.

Justin Thomas

Reigning FedExCup champion and first-round leader Justin Thomas shot a second-round 74 after opening the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES with a 9-under-par first-round 63. Thomas took a three-shot lead into the second round, but an opening 3-over-par 39 on the front brought him back to the pack putting him at T4, two shots off the 36-hole lead.

The second-round 74 is Thomas’ worst score since an 80 in the second round of the Open Championship.

The opening-round 63 matched Thomas’ second-best opening round on the PGA TOUR with the 2015 John Deere Classic. Thomas’ lowest opening round was a memorable 59 at last year’s victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii. The 63 is Thomas’ ninth career round of 63 or better.

Thomas enjoyed a breakout season in 2016-17 on the PGA TOUR. His success began in the fall in Asia with his second consecutive victory at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, He later won back-to-back events in Hawaii at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open in Hawaii. Thomas’ 59 in the opening round of the Sony Open made him the youngest of seven players (eight times) to record a sub-60 round on the PGA TOUR (23 years, 9 months, 14 days).

Thomas’ season got even better in the late summer and early fall, as he won his first major championship at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow. In the FedExCup Playoffs, Thomas was able win the Dell Technologies Championship, the second of the four FedExCup Playoffs events, and entered the TOUR Championship at No. 2 in the standings. With a runner-up finish at the TOUR Championship, Thomas capped off his season with the FedExCup, the fifth winner under the age of 30. Thomas joined Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth as the only players to win five times in a season, including a major, before the age of 25.

Thomas made his debut on the U.S. Presidents Cup Team at Liberty National Golf Club, where he recorded a 3-1-1 record in a victorious effort for the U.S. Team.

With his historic season, Thomas was voted 2016-17 PGA TOUR Player of the Year. He is currently the No. 4 player in the Official World Golf Ranking and is making his second start of the PGA TOUR season.

Cameron Smith

Australian Cameron Smith shot a 4-under-par second round to move to 7-under for the tournament in a 2-way tie for fourth.

Smith, who won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans for his first PGA TOUR victory last season at the newly-introduced team event alongside Sweden’s Jonas Blixt. At 23 years, 8 months, 13 days, Smith became fourth-youngest Australian to win on TOUR (three players) behind Jason Day (22) and Adam Scott (23/twice).

Smith shot a final-round 64 at last week’s CIMB Classic to finish T5. He also finished T5 at the CIMB Classic in 2014 as well.

Seung-Yul Noh

After a disappointing opening-round 7-over 79, Korea’s Seung-Yul Noh battled back to even with the lowest round of the day shooting 7-under-par 65. Noh received a last-minute sponsor’s exemption to the tournament. He will be fulfilling his mandatory military obligation in Korea at the end of the month.

Miscellaneous Notes

Marc Leishman sits at T6 at 6-under-par. Leishman spent a year on the Korean PGA Tour early on in his career winning the 2006 Jisan Resort Open. The three-time PGA TOUR winner had a career season in 2016-17 with two victories to finish 6th in the FedExCup standings. 

Patrick Reed also ended the second round at T6 at 6-under-par. Even in a season where Reed didn’t win for the first time in five years, Reed did enough to qualify for his fourth consecutive TOUR Championship, last season. Playing well at the right time, Reed finished runner-up at the PGA Championship and had top-20 finishes at the first two FedExCup Playoffs events (THE NORTHERN TRUST-T20, Dell Technologies Championship-T6). A 65th at the BMW Championship made things interesting, but his 14 top-25 finishes throughout the season to reach the season finale.

At the first official PGA TOUR event to be held in Korea, Whee Kim ranks highest of the 16 Korean players in the field at 6-under-par for the tournament and is T6. Kim has enjoyed a nice start to the season including a hole-in-one in the third round of last week’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia with a new car as the prize. It was Kim’s first hole-in-one of his career during tournament play.

Korean Players in the field

  1. T6 Whee KIM -6
  2. T24 K.T. KIM -2
  3. T24 Jinho CHOI -2
  4. T30 K.J. CHOI -1
  5. T36 Seung-Yul NOH E
  6. T36 Byeong Hun AN E
  7. T44 Jung-gon HWANG 1
  8. T44 Hyungjoon LEE 1
  9. T44 Si Woo KIM 1
  10. T47 Young-han SONG 2
  11. T56 Kyoung-Hoon LEE 3
  12. T56 Sung KANG 3
  13. T56 Sangmoon BAE 3
  14. T64 Jeunghun WANG 4
  15. T67 Junghwan LEE 5
  16. T70 Seunghyuk KIM 6
  17. 77 Gyu Min LEE 23

Last week’s CIMB Classic winner, Pat Perez, is at 4-under-par, at T15 for the tournament.

CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES and the FedExCup                                                               

CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES is a 72-hole stroke play event combining players from two official sanctioning bodies – the PGA TOUR, the Korean PGA. The inaugural event brings an official PGA TOUR event to Korea for the first time in history and brings together top players from the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup standings, top players from the Korean PGA and from the Asian Tour Order of Merit. The tournament is held at Nine Bridges Golf Club on Jeju Island. PGA TOUR members receive official FedExCup points as part of the 2017-2018 PGA TOUR season.

The CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES is the third event of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR season and is part of eight events during the fall of 2017, all of which will award FedExCup points. After a seven-week break, the season will resume in January with the traditional swing through Hawaii before moving to the West Coast. The FedExCup Playoffs once again features four events and concludes in September with the TOUR Championship and the crowning of the FedExCup champion.

In addition to 500 FedExCup points and a two-year PGA TOUR exemption, the winner this week (if not previously eligible) receives invitations to the 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions, a winners-only event in January, along with two major championships (Masters Tournament and PGA Championship) and THE PLAYERS Championship. The player would also earn exemptions into six additional invitational events on the PGA TOUR.

Every week is significant in the race for the FedExCup – three of the seven winners from the fall calendar of 2016 (Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama and Pat Perez) qualified for the TOUR Championship. The other four winners advanced through at least the second of four Playoffs events (Brendan Steele, Cody Gribble, Rod Pampling and Mackenzie Hughes).

Earlier this year in May, FedEx extended its contract as sponsor of the FedExCup by 10 years through 2027.

Par-3 hole-in-one event – bibigo! Chef-go!

During competition, there is a hole-in-one prize at the par 3, 218-yard 13th hole called "bibigo! Chef-go!" The first player to make a hole-in-one at the 13th wins a private Korean food party hosted by bibigo that represents the best of Korean cuisine. The global Korean food brand Bibigo will provide their renowned chefs to the destination of the player’s choosing to throw a one-time Korean food party! Prize valued at 50,000 USD

Graham DeLaet withdrew during the second round due to a back injury. 

Bogey-free rounds:

  • R1: Chez Reave (66), Charles Howell III (67)
  • R2: Seung-Yul Noh (65), Luke List (67)

Scoring Averages at the par-72 NINE BRIDGES Golf Club:

  • Front 9 R1 35.500; R2 36.770
  • Back 9 R1 35.448; R2 36.576
  • Total 70.948 73.346
  • Cumulative 72.146