Now its advantage Simpson
Luke Donald lost money list ground on Friday as Henrik Stenson, Justin Leonard and Bi-o Kim stormed into the Disney lead.
Luke Donald lost ground in the US Money list race on Friday as Henrik Stenson, Justin Leonard and Bi-o Kim stormed into the second round lead at Disney World.
Leonard, a one-time Open Champion, posted a sizzling 9-under 63, Sweden’s once prominent, but recently invisible man Stenson a stunning 64 and 21-year-old Tour rookie Bi-o Kim of South Korean a 65 to sweep into a share of the halfway lead at 12-under 132 at the US PGA Tour’s season-closing Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic being played at Disney’s Magnolia and Palm Courses at Lake Buena Vista in Florida.
Donald, who needs to finish no worse than in a two-tie for second to edge out current leader Webb Simpson in the race for the US Money list title on Sunday as he bids to become the first man in history to win the money list titles on both sides of the Atlantic, didn’t have a very good second day.
After sharing the first-round lead with a 66, the World No 1 slipped back into a four-way tie for 14th that included Simpson with a 1-under 71 that left him five shots off the pace at 7-under 137, Simpson having closed the first round gap between himself and Donald with a 3-under 69 to make it advantage Simpson on the second day.
“It wasn’t very good,” a disappointed and unwell Donald told the media after having to play the second round fighting a sinus infection
“I struggled in kind of all parts of my game unfortunately.
“My energy level, my focus wasn’t very good. I struggled off the tee. Hopefully (I’ll) get a good night’s rest and feel a bit more recharged tomorrow. I’m going to need to go low on the weekend,” the Englishman added after posting three birdies as against two bogies.
On Saturday, for a third day in a row, Donald and Simpson will play together in a duel what has fueled an event normally restricted to stragglers fighting to save their tour cards.
“It’s great for the sponsor, television and all that goes with it,” said Donald, who trailed Simpson by $363,029 in the money list when he teed off at the Palm Course on Thursday.
“But to be honest, I’ve got to beat everyone, not just Webb. I’ve got to play a lot better than I did today.”
For luckless Leonard, this week has brought some rare glitter to an otherwise bleak season.
“It hasn’t been a good year,” admitted the 39-year-old American who has not won since the 2008 St Jude Championship and has tumbled back to 144th on the money list.
“I’m looking forward to the year being over, but it’s nice to have a chance this week to finish it off on a good note. I had a fun, easy day today.”
Kim, the youngest player on this year’s PGA Tour, was over the moon after a round that needed only 22 putts on the more difficult Magnolia layout.
“I putted great and 20, 30-footers went in on the last two holes,” he enthused. “I hit the ball better than (I’ve done in the) last couple of months so that’s always good.”
Kim celebrated his 21st birthday in South Korea in August when he also had surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat.
“I was a little bit scared but this is the second time getting the surgery,” he said after shooting eight birdies and a bogey. “I also had it done when I was 11.
“I practised before I took the surgery and then had about a week when I didn’t touch a club. After that it was totally fine. The doctor said I could play golf again.”
The cut fell at three-under 141 with England’s World No 17 Justin Rose, defending champion Robert Garrigus and former major winners Davis Love III, David Duval and Shaun Micheel among those missing out.
For Former World No 1 Duval it was a last chance to retain his Tour ticket for 2012 and he now faces the unwanted prospect of having to go back to Q-school.
TOP 10 LEADERBOARD
132 Justin Leonard (USA) 69 63, Kim Bi-o (Kor) 67 65, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 68 64
134 Nick O’Hern (Aus) 68 66
135 Michael Allen (USA) 69 66, Matt Bettencourt (USA) 68 67, Gary Woodland (USA) 66 69
136 Brandt Jobe (USA) 69 67, Kevin Chappell (USA) 70 66, Kris Blanks (USA) 67 69, James Driscoll (USA) 66 70, Jeff Maggert (USA) 69 67, William McGirt (USA) 67 69
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