Scott Piercy into CJ Cup lead as Shubhankar Sharma slips further

Scott Piercy in action during the second round of the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges event on Friday. Image courtesy PGA Tour.

By Rahul Banerji 

Scott Piercy of the USA squeezed to a one-shot lead with low scores dominating the leader board in the $9.5 million CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges at Jeju Island on Friday.

PGA Tour player of the year Brooks Koepka rode an eagled par-5 to match Piercy with a seven-under par 65 and was one shot behind. Overnight leader Chaz Reavie fell to third after a two-under round.

Piercy is on 135, nine under after two days, Koepka is 136 and Reavie 138. Alex Noren and Ian Poulter are shared fourth on 139s.

Off-colour

Shubhankar Sharma meanwhile continued to slip down the standings finishing the day on five over par 147. He is now tied 71st alongside Xander Schauffele.

Piercy shot a bogey-free round and his 36-hole total matches the halfway score by Luke List in last year’s inaugural tournament, won by Justin Thomas.

Noren too had a bogey-free 65, which was a nine-shot improvement while England’s Paul Casey sank the first ever hole-in-one of the tournament at the par-3 187-yard seventh hole with a seven iron.

It was his second hole-in-one on the PGA Tour and the ninth of his career.

Colder conditions

Said Piercy later, “Yeah, it was a good day. Hit a couple close and then my putter showed up and made some putts of some pretty good length to complement some of the shorter putts that I had.

“The wind was down a little bit and a 10 miles an hour wind versus 20’s is quite a big difference. The difference between the CIMB Classic and here obviously is about 25 degrees temperature-wise.

“When it’s cold like this, the ball probably travels about 10 to 15 yards shorter.”

Added Koepka, “I’m hitting it well and making putts. I felt like I probably could have shot about 7, 8 under on the front side there, missed a couple.

‘Caveman golf’

“It’s pretty simple, I just go. I mean, I guess you can call it like caveman golf: You see the ball, hit the ball and go find it again. I’m trying to shoot the best score I can, it doesn’t matter if it’s 5 over, 7 under.

“I’m still just trying to grind it out and shoot the best score I can.”

Defending champion Justin Thomas eagled his last hole for a 70 and was eight shots off of the lead heading into the weekend in a tie for 22nd.

Brian Harman had the round of the day with an 8-under 64, 12 shots better than his first-round 76.

Marc Leishman, who won last week’s CIMB Classic by five shots and lost in a playoff here to Thomas in 2017, returned a second-round 1-under 71 for a two-day total of 2-over 146.

Read also: Fun and a game on the Delhi Golf Club’s Peacock course

 

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