Kim has 3-shot lead after round 2
Chan Kim of Gilbert, shot a five-under 65 Friday to take the lead by two strokes at eight-under par over Chris Kessler of Scottsdale, after two days of play at the Arizona Stroke Play Championship at TPC Scottsdale – Champions Course. Kessler who opened with a four-under 66 and had the lead following Thursday’s round posted a one-under 69. Andrew Medley, of Phoenix, matched Kim’s 65 and is in third at four-under par 136 for the two days after posting a one-over 71 on Thursday.
Brent Baylon, of Phoenix, remains in fourth place besting his opening round score by one shot posting a two-under 68 Friday and is at three-under par 137 for the two days. Paul Welle, of Scottsdale, the 2008 AGA Player of the Year and Bob Burton, of Scottsdale, are tied for fifth at two-under 138. Takuya Fuji, of Tucson and Juan Fernandez are the only other players under par and are tied for seventh at one-under 139.
Kim had a flawless round with two eagles and a birdie. Over the first two days he has played the three par 5s at seven-under par.
“My ball striking was pretty solid, but my putting was a little off and everything else was good,” Kim said. “I’m not too worried about it. I saw my coach, Jeff Fisher this morning and will see him again tomorrow.”
His first eagle came on the 556 yard par five fourth hole. After a solid drive he had 200 yards to the hole that was behind the bunker. Not wanting to end up in the sand, he used his six iron and hit out to the right landing on the fringe. Faced with a tricky putt because of the slop and not totally sure of the line he wanted to get it close, but read it right and sank the 25-footer and he says, “got lucky.”
On the 575 yard ninth hole, he hit another solid drive to the left side of the fairway and left himself 270 yards to the hole. Not wanting to fly the green he took a hybrid and the ball went straight to the hole and nearly went in, rolling just five feet by and a setup a successful eagle putt.
The back nine that proved to be a strong stretch in Chan’s final round that lead him to victory in 2008, did not prove to be the same birdie holes that they were yesterday. In Friday’s round he only carded the birdie that came on the 189 yard par 3 16th hole when he was finally able to sink a 15-footer that gave him great relief after missing a number of eight – 10-footers.
“It was getting kind of frustrating,” he said. “It was a relief to finally make that putt.”
Just half way through the tournament, Kim, is happy to be in the position he is in, but knows there is more work to be done.
“There is still a lot of golf to be played,” he added. “I’m going to have a conservative strategy and play aggressive to that. I feel comfortable and overall I’m playing well and if I can get my putts to roll I think I’ll be fine, but there is some holes left to play.”
Kessler, 38, the runner-up to Kim in 2008, who shot an opening round four-under 66 continued to struggle off the tee and had difficulties on the greens carded three birdies and two bogeys.
“I really putted poorly and misread some of the greens today,” he said. “Today, I had more legitimate chances for birdies, but just couldn’t putt. I need to have confidence off the tee, because this is a course you can get into trouble on. Tomorrow I’m going to go to the range and try and work that out. On the tee box you have to confident in your swing or you pay for it. I’m a fairly consistent putter and usually don’t have two bad days in a row. I’m going to go home and work on my putting a bit. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.”
Medley, 30, regained his amateur status 18 months ago and turned in a stellar bogey-free performance. Starting on the back nine he notched birdies on the 10th and 13th holes and on the front nine carded back-to-back birdies starting on the third and fourth holes and finished with a birdie on his last hole to punctuate the perfect round.
“It was one of those flawless days of golf and I made a couple of par putts that I needed to make to establish my round and keep the bogey free round going,” he said. “The golf course was playing difficult depending on where you hit it and you had to respectful of the hole positions. My game plan today was to hit a lot of greens and was fortunate to make the putts for birdies. “ Medley, who played his final year of golf at the University of Arizona in 2003, turned pro and retired after five years. Now in the commercial real estate business and shortly expecting his first child, was reflective on the decision to return to the amateur ranks. “If I had the feeling I have now when I played pro golf, I probably wouldn’t have quit playing. I seem to have gotten a lot better since I don’t have to rely on six-footers for money.”
While Medley does not have to time to play as much golf as he would like, he has made the most of his outings and reached the Sweet 16 last year at the U.S. Mid-Amateur.
With two days of golf left to play and four shots off the lead, Medley is in contention to take home the Kachina. “Tomorrow, I’m just keep going to keep doing what I’m doing and stay aggressive,” he said. “The guys in front of me are doing a great job. I have go out and try to make as many birdies as I can and I’d sure like to win it. I will have to play a lot of good golf to put myself in that position.”