Anthony Kang’s good early season form continued as the winner of last week’s Maybank Malaysian Open fired his second consecutive 67 at The Vines Resort & Country Club to take the clubhouse lead on day two of the Johnnie Walker Classic.
The 36 year old began the morning on five under, three strokes behind overnight leader Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands but birdied five of his first eight holes to reach the halfway stage on ten under par 134.
World Number 11 Anthony Kim shot a four under 68 for the second day in a row to join the Australian quartet of Andrew Dodt (66), Andre Stolz (67), Adam Blyth (68) and Terry Pilkadaris (66) on eight under, two shots behind the leader.
Colin Montgemerie had five birdies and three bogeys in a round of 70 which left him on seven under, tied with five other players including Ian Poulter (69) and Graeme Storm (64).
Kang, who ended an eight year drought with his win in Malaysia, enjoyed an excellent start, rolling in a 25 footer for birdie on his opening hole, the tenth, and holing three straight birdies from the 13th to 15th.
He made another on the 17th to go out in 31 and after making the turn, found a fairway bunker on the third but picked up his sixth birdie of the round by blasting to within two feet of the pin. A bogey on the 17th was the only blemish of the round but it did little to wipe the smile off the Korean American’s face.
“The formula for shooting a good score in golf basically is driving it in the fairway and putting it on the greens and holing a lot of putts. I’ve been doing that the last three rounds in Malaysia and the first two rounds over here,” said Kang.
“If that continues onwards, it’s just a matter of whether the putts drop in or not but I’m just basically having the time of my life right now.
“I’m not making too many mistakes and I’m holing a lot of putts so it feels great to be on the golf course right now.
“I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t think about winning two in a row but we’ve got a pretty stellar field and world class players over here. For me to do that is statistically against the odds and pretty improbable.
“However this is a sports competition and that’s why we play.”
After failing to mount a challenge in Malaysia last week, Kim is happy to be back in contention in a tournament once again.
“It’s been a good couple of days but I’m still making some careless mistakes,” said the 23 year old.
“I think I’m just starting to knock the rust off my game so I’m happy to have a shot going into the weekend and hopefully my game will keep improving.
“I have not even been playing at home so it’s been just rust from not practising and not playing because I’ve had a couple of injuries to deal with. Now that I’m finally over that, I can start practising at full speed again.”
Storm moved up the leaderboard after firing an eight under 64 that included consecutive eagles on the ninth and tenth.
“I was one over for the tournament after seven holes and going nowhere and all of a sudden, things picked up. I have no idea why it happens,” said the Hartlepool native.
“A 64 gives me a little shout, only three behind the leaders at the moment. If I continue to hit the ball like I did and putt like I did for those 11 holes where I shot eight under, hopefully I can go forward again.”
On the course, Derksen quickly regained a share of the lead with an eagle on the par five tenth, his first hole of the afternoon. He was still ten under after five holes.
The news was not so good though for Lee Westwood, who began the round in a tie for fourth on six under but stumbled back to three under after a quadruple bogey nine on his third hole.