Sunday February 17, 2013
Birdie blast for Bae
LOS ANGELES: South Korea’s Bae Sang-moon birdied nine holes en route to a six-under 65 on Friday that left him tied with Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobson in the second round of the Northern Trust Open.
Sang-moon, a 26-year-old in his second full season on the US PGA Tour, got off to a blazing start at sunsplashed Riviera Country Club, opening with four straight birdies from the 10th as he positioned himself for a run at a first PGA Tour title.
Sang-moon’s nine-under par total of 133 stood up as the lead for much of the day, but Jacobson briefly overtook him with his seventh birdie of the day at the 13th before dropping back with his only bogey of the day at 15 and also finishing with a 65 for 133.
They were one stroke in front of Americans John Merrick and John Rollins. Merrick carded a 66 and Rollins posted a 65 highlighted by an eagle at the 11th for eight-under 134.
World number three Luke Donald carded a 66 for 135, one stroke better than former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa (67), reigning US Open champion Webb Simpson (66) and England’s Lee Westwood (68).
Sang-moon took a conservative approach at the classic par-71 Riviera course in the Pacific Palisades west of downtown Los Angeles.
“Keep it on the fairway and hit the greens,” he said of a strategy that rewarded him with birdies at half of his holes.
“I feel like I played very well today,” Sang-moon said. “I hit a bunch of good shots. I made many good putts.”
Sang-moon also missed a couple of short ones - that included a two-footer that failed to drop at the fifth hole, where he made one of his three bogeys.
“It was not a big problem. These greens are a little tricky and soft and bumpy,” Sang-moon said. “Actually my putter is feeling at my best level - I can make a 10- or 15-foot putt. I have confidence in my game.”
Jacobson, sidelined late last year with a back injury, came in with some confidence after finishing with a share of seventh up the coast at Pebble Beach last week.
The most unlikely of his seven birdies came at the par-four ninth, where he rolled in a 54-foot putt from about five feet off the green to launch a burst of three birdies in a row.
“That putt was pretty spectacular,” Jacobson said.
“I was just short left of the green and there was a lot of slopes and bumps along the way there to get it there but managed to trickle over the edge.”
Donald, making his first competitive start of 2013, was pleased with his game.
His cause was aided by three birdie putts from the fringe, a 41-footer at the par-four 15th, a 22-footer at the par-four third and a 71-footer at the par-three fourth. — AFP