Karlsson goes three clear
Robert Karlsson has opened up a three-stroke, second-day lead at the FedEx St Jude Classic with a blistering 65.
Robert Karlsson has opened up a three-stroke, second-day lead at the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis on Friday with a blistering 65.
Karlsson, who was beaten in a play-off by Lee Westwood in this event last year, stormed to the top of leaderboard at the halfway stage by following his opening round of 66 with his five-under 65.
And that was more than enough to hoist the tall, 41-year-old Swede to a nine-under total and take him three clear of his closest pursuers, Colt Knost and Keegan Bradley, two up-and-coming young Americans
The home challenge did not end there though.
A third US youngster, John Merrick, is a further stroke back on five-under while Australia’s Harrison Frazar and Swede Fredrick Jacobson are a shot further back in a two-way tie at four under.
Defending champion and world number two Westwood endured a difficult day, highlighted by a double-bogey six at 12, as he carded an even-par 70 that has left him trailing the leaders by eight shots heading into the weeklend
Karlsson began the round a stroke behind overnight leader David Mathis, who was to drop back to three-under after a level-par 72, and quickly shot ahead with four birdies in a flawless first nine.
The former Ryder Cup winner, who teed off on the 10th hole, then began his return home from the first with a birdie at the first and another at six that moved him four shots clear before his first bogey blemish on the par-three eighth.
Karlsson’s round of 65 equalled the best of the day, being matched only by fellow countryman Jacobson and Frazar as they moved into contention behind him.
“I like this golf course and I played quite well over two days,” Karlsson told the media agfterwards.
“I hit a lot of good iron shots today, gave myself quite a few easy birdies. Yesterday I played the par-fives a bit better, but it’s okay.”
Knost, who had missed the cut in his past four events, followed up his opening 66 with a 68, while Bradley, who won his first PGA Tour title at the Byron Nelson two weeks ago, continued his great run with a bogey-free 67.
“I played a great round of golf today. I did hit a few funky shots, but when I did, I got it up and down,” Bradley said.
Two of the most prominent golfers to miss the cut were Spain’s Sergio Garcia and South Korea’s YE Yang.
Top 10 leaderboard
131 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 66 65
134 Keegan Bradley 67 67, Colt Knost 66 68
135 John Merrick 66 69
136 Fredrik Jacobson (Swe) 71 65, Harrison Frazar 71 65
137 Kris Blanks 66 71, Scott Stallings 69 68, Nick O’Hern (Aus) 71 66, Fabian Gomez (Arg)
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